Secular Humanism’s Awful Inhumanity

By Tom Gilson Published on April 12, 2018

You would think a movement calling itself “humanism” would promote human worth. You’d think it would distance itself respectfully from any movement that did the opposite.

You would think that, but you’d be wrong — at least in the case of secular humanism and the atheistic movement it aligns itself with.

I expect secular humanists would say Christians such as myself are the great offenders against human respect and dignity. We see ourselves, they say, as puny creations of a God who rules over all. We’re “sinners;” even “worms,” as one hymn puts it. We’re too weak to manage our own way in the world; we need a Father-figure to hold our hands. Above all we lack courage to face our own death without inventing a happy ending for ourselves — plus a “gotcha” for our enemies.

That makes us awfully small, doesn’t it? It would, except it’s all distorted. They’ve misunderstood Christianity badly, from their side of the ideological divide.

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Humanist Manifesto III

I’m going to let the American Humanist Association tell the first part of the story, through the movement’s third (and most current) Humanist Manifesto. It sounds uplifting enough: “Humanism is a progressive lifestance that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead meaningful, ethical lives capable of adding to the greater good of humanity. … The responsibility for our lives and the kind of world in which we live is ours and ours alone.”

What’s not to like about that?

Humanist ethics include “long[ing] for and striv [ing] toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.”

The problem — and it’s a huge one — is with secular humanism’s atheistic stance.

Again, what’s to complain about there? Not much — but everything.

The problem — and it’s a huge one — is with secular humanism’s atheistic stance.

No Human Choice. None.

Two popular atheist leaders, Sam Harris and Jerry Coyne, insist that human free will is an illusion. That is, you and I literally cannot make any free choices. As the Humanist Manifesto III says, “Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change.” Nature doesn’t make choices. It follows the laws of physics, and that’s it. You and I, being integral parts of nature, don’t get a pass. We have no freedom to choose anything. We think we do, but that’s all illusion.

How human is that?

Secular philosophers have argued that atheism means there’s no such thing as thinking.

No Human Thinking. None.

But it gets worse. Secular philosophers have argued that atheism means there’s no such thing as thinking.

You probably need a moment to catch your breath after reading that. Yet it’s also a pretty fair conclusion to reach, if secular humanism’s atheism is true.

The reasons are many, but I’ll stick with just one of them, the so-called “aboutness” problem. Alex Rosenberg is an atheistic professor of philosophy at Duke University. In his popular-level book An Atheist’s Guide to Reality, he asks us to think about Paris; then he wonders, What could it mean to say that your thoughts are about Paris? If your thoughts are purely physical reactions in your brain, then it must means some electrochemical something-or-other inside your brain is about Paris.

Now ask yourself a parallel question: Could a rock be about Paris? It could be in Paris, but what could it mean for a rock to be about Paris? It’s a meaningless concept. The rock is a physical object, and one physical object simply can’t be about anything at all. Physical objects don’t have “aboutness” relationships with other objects or (especially) ideas. Neither do physical processes, like, say, a snowfall or a fire.

But that applies to your brain as well, for everything in it is either a physical object or process — which means nothing in your brain can be about anything. Including the thoughts in your brain. That’s Rosenberg’s conclusion — and by the way, he’s right, if atheism is true.

Humanness Eliminated

I’ll come back to the obvious contradiction there in a moment. First though, let’s reflect on what secular humanism does to humanness. “Humanism” results in the elimination of human choice and human thought.

How human is that?

I could go on and on with other inhuman thoughts of the humanists and their atheist compadres. Princeton ethicist Peter Singer says we have a duty to avoid “speciesism.” We’re no different from any other animal, he says; in fact, an 18 month-old child has less mental power — and therefore less worth — than a chimp. Human rights are nothing special: a court in Colombia just gave the same rights to a river.

Again, how human is that?

No Escape From Humanness

I respect them for that. It’s just that their atheism completely undercuts it all.

Remember, humanists’ aspirations are high and in many ways noble. It’s just that their atheism undercuts it all. How can they hold to such a self-contradictory philosophy?

First, they are human; and no human can escape his or her humanness. We cannot choose to live as if choice is an illusion. We may think our way to the conclusion that no one can think their way to a conclusion, but in the process we still cannot avoid thinking. So no matter how clearly an atheist may reason his way to an inhuman conclusion, his humanness will prevail in the end.

Second, yes, their atheism is humanly impossible; still they prefer it to God — any God, even the gracious God of the Bible, whose supreme love gives us the real worth and dignity that an empty universe cannot.

Thomas Nagel, another prominent atheist philosopher, says it this way: “It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.” Years before him Aldous Huxley spoke his objections to any God who “interfered with our sexual freedom.”

Professing To Be Wise …

These are just two men. I doubt they speak for all humanists or all atheists. Or do they? Could it be that secular humanism exists because its followers want to avoid responsibility before God?

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:21-23)

Remember Peter Singer? He hasn’t just brought God down to the level of birds and animals and creeping things. He’s brought you and me down there, too. Professing to uplift humanity, secular humanism’s atheism degrades it to the level of the animals, and even the rocks.

Secular humanists want uplift human worth, but they fail to do so. Professing to be wise, they have become fools.

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  • Patmos

    Science is great. In the 20th century alone it produces weapons of unthinkable destruction and two major world wars along with many minor ones leading to the death of hundreds of millions. To top it off it’s field of psychology, led by a coke head I might add, gave us the field of public relations and the exploitation of people’s minds to the point of getting them to buy things they don’t need.

    The 21st century is looking to be even better, with men no longer being men and women no longer being women, transhumanism further degrading the sacredness of life, and yes probably even more wars but this time with AI likely in the mix. The eugenicists just might finally get their goal after all.

    • swordfish

      If you don’t like science, maybe you should stop using the Internet.

      • GLT

        swordfish,

        “If you don’t like science, maybe you should stop using the Internet.”

        This ranks very near the top of the list of childish arguments one should not use.

        Science is not some infinite repository of truth and wisdom, it is simply a tool and like any tool its effectiveness is determined by the one using it. If the workman is poorly skilled the tool will not compensate for that lack of skill. Science is beneficial and detrimental to man in equal measure. Yes, it has given us many benefits such as modern medicine and a better understanding of our physical world. But it has also given us many horrors such as eugenics and weapons capable of mass destruction of life and property.

        To trivialize the debate around science and the justifiable criticism of some of those who abuse it, by implying anyone who does so hates science and therefore should cease to use the internet or any other product of science, is to display a decided lack of intellect and insight. Science is not the endless font of wisdom, knowledge and truth nor is it the only source from which we are able to gain insight, knowledge, truth and wisdom.

        • swordfish

          I was just pointing out, in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek way that it’s easy to take the products of science for granted.

          “Science is beneficial and detrimental to man in equal measure.”

          As you then go on to demonstrate.

          • GLT

            swordfish,

            “I was just pointing out, in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek way that it’s easy to take the products of science for granted.”

            Okay. I have just too often seen people try to use that as a serious argument. I am glad to hear you do not. 🙂

    • I’m not sure what science has to do with this post, but for the record, I certainly like it. I don’t like its being ethically misused at times, but that’s an ethics problem, not a science problem. I don’t like it when secular philosophy parades itself falsely as science, either. That’s not a science problem per se, it’s a philosophy problem, but it’s a mistake that a lot of atheistic scientists make, so in that sense it’s a science problem.

      Again, that’s all tangential to the article here. Just for the record.

      • Patmos

        Just pointing out the foolishness of isolating science, which humanists inevitably circle around to, as some sort of savior.

  • swordfish

    “Two popular atheist leaders”

    We don’t have leaders. Just lettin’ ya know.

    “We have no freedom to choose anything. We think we do, but that’s all illusion.”

    We don’t have free will, but we still have will. If you think we have real free will, how do our thought processes go against the laws of physics?

    “Secular philosophers have argued…”

    So what? Atheism is a singular belief and has nothing to do with whatever individual philosophers have argued.

    “We’re no different from any other animal”

    A strawman. Like it or not, we are animals. That said, animals aren’t all the same, so there’s no reason to treat animals and people exactly the same either. Perhaps you prefer William Lane Craig’s idea that animals don’t feel pain because they don’t have souls. How many Christians think their pets don’t feel pain?

    “We cannot choose to live as if choice is an illusion.”

    Back to free will. Just because we can’t choose with 100% freedom doesn’t mean we can’t choose at all. It’s not rocket science, Tom.

    “Could it be that secular humanism exists because its followers want to avoid responsibility before God?”

    No, we don’t believe in God. (How many times!)

    • You do have leaders. Don’t kid yourself.

      Your question about thought processes is a very important one and not easy to answer quickly; I suggest you look at Victor Reppert’s book C. S. Lewis’s Dangerous Idea. The short answer is that the laws of physics cannot be the entire description of reality.

      You call the animal issue a straw man; that means you don’t understand what Singer says, and what evolutionary biology entails ontologically. Sorry.

      Coyne, Harris and others do not merely say “we can’t choose with 100% freedom.” They clearly say we have exactly 0% freedom. Read them. I’ve done my homework. If you want to try contradicting me that way, you do yours first, okay?

      You can dismiss secular philosophers with a “so what?” if you like. Try dismissing their arguments, though, and you won’t find it so easy. It is the arguments that matter in the end.

      • swordfish

        I don’t have much interest in philosophy. Literally any position can be argued for (or against) by philosophy, and it appears that in many cases, such as that of ‘free will’, this is exactly what has happened. You cite Victor Reppert’s book, but I cite Richard Carrier’s “Critical Review of Victor Reppert’s Defense of the Argument from Reason (2004)”, which demolishes Reppert.

        What matters is evidence. Scientific research into the human mind is ongoing. Not one piece of research backs up Reppert’s ideas. There isn’t any evidence that we have an immortal, immaterial soul, and there isn’t any evidence that we have free will. In fact, all the evidence points to the contrary – the human mind is physical and dependant on the continued existence of our physical brain:

        The effect of drugs. Sleep. Brain damage. Brain illnesses. The size of our brain relative to animals. Optical illusions. Brain scans. Experimental surgery. The list is long.

        The reason theists are so keen to quote philosophers, and to label those that discount their observations as ‘not understanding their argument’, is because they haven’t got ANY real evidence.

        Also, none of the issues you raised have anything to do with Humanism per se. Your argument boils down to ‘Humanism is bad because it shares the atheistic worldview’, but that is irrelevant anyway. Humanism is an ethical and moral system and should be properly judged on that basis, on its own merits; not on the basis that it is part of a (so-called) worldview that you don’t like.

        • GPS Daddy

          >>I don’t have much interest in philosophy

          That clear, swordfish. You make lots of logical mistakes in your comments. Here is the rub, though,for you: you have philosophy. You claim evidence is all you need but evidence that can be referenced in these types of discussions must be interpreted from a philosophical position. Even your claim of “What matters is evidence” is a philosophical statement.

          • swordfish

            “”What matters is evidence” is a philosophical statement.”

            Is exactly the sort of thing you’d expect someone with no evidence to say.

          • GPS Daddy

            Ignorant by choice.

          • swordfish

            Did you read Richard Carrier’s “Critical Review of Victor Reppert’s Defense of the Argument from Reason (2004)” that I mentioned? Please do so.

    • (You got WLC wrong on animal pain, too, by the way. I do suggest you do your homework. Thanks.)

      • swordfish

        WLC made the claim in a video debate with philosopher Stephen Law.

        “Even though animals feel pain, they’re not aware of it… Even though your dog and cat may be in pain, it really isn’t aware that of being in pain, and therefore it doesn’t suffer as you would when you are in pain.”

  • John Doane

    Tom Gilson’s quotes from the Humanist Manifesto III are very revealing:
    “Humanism is a progressive lifestance that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs…”
    “Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change.”

    These two quotes reveal that humanism is really a kind of pantheism. In that non-theistic religion, meaning is found by aligning oneself with the principle behind nature, which is perceived to be evolutionary progress. Theologian Robert Brow, who several decades ago wrote a concise Inter Varsity Press book called Religion, made the identification. We need to understand the religious and spiritual nature of humanism, for we wrestle not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6).

    • Gerrard

      good point.

    • James

      Most atheists are humanists and most humanists are pantheists who don’t want to be a bunch of hippies.

    • Gary Whittenberger

      Secular humanism is not a kind of pantheism at all.

      • GPS Daddy

        Oh, I disagree with that, Gary. Secular Humanism rests in a materialistic world view. The material world is self created (by Darwinian Evolution). This makes the material world god.

        Pantheism: a doctrine that identifies God with the universe, or regards the universe as a manifestation of God

        So John is accurate in saying that Secular Humanism is really a kind of pantheism.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          Oh, I strongly disagree with you, and I believe you are using an incorrect definition of “god.” A god is a hypothetical supernatural intelligent agent. Secular humanists (I am one) do not believe the material world is a god. Therefore, they are not pantheists. John is mistaken is saying that Secular Humanism is “really a kind of pantheism.” Of course, it isn’t.

          • GPS Daddy

            Just like a bitter atheist. Dodging what is written. What makes you sooooo bitter, Gary?

          • Gary Whittenberger

            Now you are making an ad hominem attack. That’s completely inappropriate in a forum like this. That’s strike one!

          • GPS Daddy

            >>Now you are making an ad hominem attack

            No, no ad hominem attack. Your not coming clean with what grips you.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            Now you are denying responsibility for your misbehavior. For you to imply that I am “a bitter atheist” is an ad hominem attack. You aren’t dealing with any of my claims. You are just attacking me as a person.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>You are just attacking me as a person

            I’m sorry you feel attacked. Your the one bring the attack here. It very clear that you have bitterness in your heart, Gary. You have never denied that. Again, your bitterness drives your logic. No point in reasoning the logic for we will just go in circles. Again, driven by your bitterness.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            You are continuing on the same path, so I am not going to follow you on it.

          • GPS Daddy

            Right, because you are continuing in the same path.

        • John Connor

          Funny but not a single atheist I know agrees with either one of your proposed scenarios. Atheism is simple disbelief in any gods. No religion needed for disbelief.

          • GPS Daddy

            I don’t know a single atheist that understands religion. But what can you expect from someone who can’t recognize design when its staring them in the face?

          • John Connor

            Most atheists come from religious backgrounds and understand religion very well. Designed through the evolutionary process.

          • GPS Daddy

            Coming from a religious background does not mean your understand religion. You claim to come from a religious background, John, and you do not understand religion.

          • John Connor

            There’s one opinion…

  • GLT

    “We have no freedom to choose anything. We think we do, but that’s all illusion.”

    If Coyne and Harris are right I would be really interested in having them explain how the laws of physics have made me think they are both certifiably crazy?

  • Ian

    “These are just two men. I doubt they speak for all humanists or all atheists. Or do they?”
    No. They don’t.

    No one I know who’s an atheist, humanist, agnostic, etc. looks up to (or is even aware of) “leaders” of Humanism, having mostly arrived at their own individual world view without some unifying Humanist organization; nor would I expect any of my friends to describe Christians the way your 3rd paragraph does (although I’m sure some more hateful atheists sadly would). You highlight a generally agreeable manifesto, then rip it down based on the views of two philosophers I’ve never heard of or necessarily agree with. If we both have the goal to make the world a better place, can’t we accomplish that successfully regardless of whether or not our faith is in God or in humanity?

    • Not just the views of two philosophers. I named only two, but there are many others. Not only that, but as far as I can see — though again, I didn’t have space to develop that here — their arguments are sound, based on the atheism they start from. And if they are sound, it doesn’t matter whether you agree with them, although of course it would matter if you showed them unsound in some way.

      Humanists and atheists have thought-leaders, whether individuals know their names or not. It’s naive to think you have reached your conclusions on your own.

      As for making the world a better place, can we agree on what that means? Our world views are markedly different. Prominent atheists/humanists think the world would be better without religion. Most atheists think the world is a better place with the frequent practice of what we would feeely call the murder of unborn innocents. Most atheists I know of believe the world is better with marriage so revised it’s hardly recognizable any longer.

      I think you underestimate the problem of differing views of reality. There’s a lot we have to sort through before we can even agree on the meaning of “better place,” much less unite to make it so.

      • Ian

        I appreciate the reply.
        Unfamiliar as I am with these philosophers, I can’t argue on the soundness of their arguments (for although I see gaps, that’s on me to research and not you to defend in a short article or comments section). That said, the “Or do they?” line seemed to imply that all humanists share a “no free will & no thinking” ideology, so I was simply showing some representation for those who might agree with that vague, happy sounding Manifesto, but perhaps not with the philosophical conclusions as outlined in the article. I did not mean to suggest that my views are not influenced by anyone else (far from it!), just apparently not by these thought-leaders.

        Yes, I very likely underestimate the problem of differing views of reality; I think most of us would since we’ll never live in another’s shoes. That doesn’t stop us from working together on the problems we agree on (is poverty a good example?). So another way of asking my question might be: Is it better to welcome humanists that embrace the spirit of that manifesto and want to help find solutions to shared problems (the ways in which “better place” mostly correlates between us), or is it better to reject humanists entirely due both to their association with insurmountable differences (like abortion) and to your reasons from the article, but at the risk of minimal cooperation on other problems? I obviously side with the former, but I truly can understand the latter.

        Thanks again for your considerate reply.

        • I’m sorry; what I thought I was referring to was two men’s indifference to God, not two men’s views on free will.

          I don’t reject humanists. I don’t think I said I did, and I certainly wouldn’t.

          Thank you for your reply, too!

          • Ian

            Awesome! Thank you. Language in the article made it feel very antagonistic and hateful towards all humanists, which is what prompted my question. I wasn’t trying to be accusatory, I was genuinely asking, and I’m glad we could reach some clarity.
            Have a wonderful weekend!

      • Gary Whittenberger

        Unfortunately, you are using the pro-life playbook of propaganda here. Your phrase “the murder of unborn innocents” is inaccurate, misleading, deceptive, histrionic, and mean.

        If you are going to discuss abortion, then use the accurate term “fetus.”

        Fetuses are neither innocent nor guilty because they do not have the capacity to make moral of legal choices.

        “Unborn” refers to “not born,” but being born is only one of three possible outcomes for a fetus and not the most common one. And so, “unborn” is biased and misleading.

        Murder is defined as the unethical and/or illegal killing of another human person. The term is rarely applicable to abortion.

        Your analysis of the abortion issue is superficial, naive, and irrational.

        • Dorothy Pohl-Scot

          Abortion=State sanctioned murder. Call it what you want, it’s still human life and some people discard it like garbage, mostly for matters of inconvenience. You shouldn’t have to have a belief in a higher power to realize that life is precious. Oh wait…maybe you do.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            Don’t call it what you want; call it what it actually is. Abortion is not “state sanctioned murder.” By a correct definition of “murder” abortion is almost never murder, and when abortion is murder, it is not state sanctioned, but state prohibited.

            Fetuses are human organisms, but most of them are not persons. When they are persons, they have rights.

            Women who get abortions almost always do so for good reasons.

            If God exists, he surely approves of abortion conducted by himself or by human persons for good reasons.

            Just because you believe that all fetuses are “precious” doesn’t mean that all women do. If a stranger’s fetus is so precious to you, then you should agree to adopt it before it is aborted.

          • Dorothy Pohl-Scot

            It’s human life, whether you admit it or not! And people shouldn’t be so damned irresponsible! In 2018, in the USA, there is no reason to use abortion as a form of birth control.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            Dorothy, you are making what’s called a “straw man argument.” I have never said that fetuses are not live human organisms. In fact, I don’t know anybody who says such a silly thing. I suspect that you are making the straw man argument because that is part of the propaganda of the pro-live leaders.

            Most human fetuses are not human persons, whether you admit it or not! Women who get abortions are being responsible by getting abortions. Usually they are correcting their mistake in not using contraception or they are correcting the failure of a contraceptive device. That is being responsible! Those are two good reasons for using abortion to prevent birth. And so, your last claim is also false.

          • Dorothy Pohl-Scot

            Life is life. You can choose to destroy it or not. But it is what it is. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            “Life is life” is a tautology and a trivial statement. Life comes in many different species and varieties. Not all life is human life.

            But killing human organisms, even human persons, is sometimes justified.

            I can see why you wish to make overly simplistic and misleading statements and then don’t want to discuss them.

          • Dorothy Pohl-Scot

            It’s not justified, in my view, as a form of birth control. So, as I said, let’s agree to have a difference of opinion and leave it at that.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            Abortion is almost always morally and legally justified. If you think not, then present and defend your position.

          • GLT

            “Most human fetuses are not human persons,…”

            Based on what logic? If they are not human persons, what then are they?

          • Gary Whittenberger

            All human fetuses are human organisms, but not all of them are human persons.

            How do you define “human person”?

          • GLT

            “All human fetuses are human organisms, but not all of them are human persons.”

            If human organisms are not, by virtue of being human, persons, what then are they? What criteria defines whether one is a person or not?

            “How do you define “human person”?”

            I see the terms as synonymous as does the dictionary definition of person. Obviously you do not, therefore, the onus is on you to define what makes a human a person, or vice versa?

          • Gary Whittenberger

            GW1: How do you define “human person”?

            GLT2: I see the terms as synonymous as does the dictionary definition of person. Obviously you do not, therefore, the onus is on you to define what makes a human a person, or vice versa?

            GW2: So, your definition of “human person” is merely “human organism”? If it is something more than that, be specific. If that is your definition, then a human zygote would be a human person, right?

          • GLT

            A human is a person, period. I think I have made that very clear.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            I believe that your definition is a poor one. First, you should begin this definition with “A human person is…” not with “A human is…” The subject of the definition should be the term you are trying to define. Secondly, in this context “human” should be used as an adjective, not a noun, as you are using it. Here “human” refers to the kind or species of living thing. And thirdly, you definition is incomplete. It doesn’t include at least one other necessary property of a human person.

            Improving your definition, I think you mean that a human person is “any human organism.” But this would still be inadequate.

            A human person is a living organism which has Homo Sapiens DNA and the current capacity for consciousness. And so, the category of human persons excludes zygotes, embryos, and early fetuses. If you disagree, then tell us why and defend your own definition.

          • GLT

            “I believe that your definition is a poor one.”

            Really? That’s fine as my definition is in agreement with the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language. So to be quite blunt, Gary, I sincerely don’t care what you believe? In every dictionary you reference you will find ‘person’ and ‘human’ listed as synonyms of one another. You’re fighting a battle of semantics you simply cannot win.

            “If you disagree, then tell us why and defend your own definition.”

            I do disagree, I told you why and I defended my position by reference to the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language which is considered the definitive source on the English language. As for you, you’ve presented nothing but your opinion as to what qualifies as a human.

            Gary Whittenberger: “A human person is a living organism which has Homo Sapiens DNA and the current capacity for consciousness.”

            Under your definition Chimpanzees and Gorillas would qualify as a human and a person and an individual in a coma would not.

            So, we must decide whose definition is more accurate, The Oxford Dictionary definition or Gary Whittenberger’s? Guess who is going to come out of this with the short end of the stick, Gary? Hint, not the Oxford Dictionary.

            You can and I am sure you intend to, flog your dead horse of a definition as to what constitutes a human, but it is not going to change the facts.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            GW3: I believe that your definition is a poor one.

            GLT4: Really? That’s fine as my definition is in agreement with the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language. So to be quite blunt, Gary, I sincerely don’t care what you believe? In every dictionary you reference you will find ‘person’ and ‘human’ listed as synonyms of one another. You’re fighting a battle of semantics you simply cannot win.

            GW4: You have yet to defend your definition.

            GW3: If you disagree, then tell us why and defend your own definition.

            GLT4: I do disagree, I told you why and I defended my position by reference to the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language which is considered the definitive source on the English language. As for you, you’ve presented nothing but your opinion as to what qualifies as a human.

            GW4: First, you are relying on authority rather than reason. Secondly, you have provided no quotes or links for your authority source. And thirdly, you’ve presented no good reasons for using the definition you have presented.

            GW3: A human person is a living organism which has Homo Sapiens DNA and the current capacity for consciousness.

            GLT4: Under your definition Chimpanzees and Gorillas would qualify as a human and a person and an individual in a coma would not. Which is great if you’re trying to demote man to the level of an animal with the former and promote involuntary euthanasia with the latter.

            GW4: You are mistaken on both counts. Chimps and Gorillas do not have Homo Sapiens DNA. A human person, which has already acquired the capacity for consciousness, might go into a coma, but remains a person unless the coma is permanent. In the same way, human persons who temporarily lose consciousness when they are engaged in dreamless sleep still are persons.

            GLT4: So, we must decide whose definition is more accurate, The Oxford Dictionary definition or Gary Whittenberger’s? Guess who is going to come out of this with the short end of the stick, Gary? Hint, not the Oxford Dictionary.

            GW4: You haven’t presented the Oxford Dictionary definition yet. You have just presented your own. My definition is more accurate than yours. By your definition, a human zygote would be classified as a human person, which is ridiculous. What is the experience of a zygote like?

            GLT4: You can and I am sure you intend to, flog your dead horse of a definition as to what constitutes a human and a person but it is not going to change the facts.

            GW4: You can continue to flog your dead horse definition of “human person,” but it is still a dead horse.

          • GLT

            “You have yet to defend your definition.”

            I realise atheists find it almost impossible to read anything they fear might disturb their little world but you’re going to have to find the courage as I am not going to start quoting dictionaries for you. I told you were to find my defence and they are all available via Google, so do some work for a change.

            “If you disagree, then tell us why and defend your own definition.”

            For the fourth and last time, The Oxford Dictionary of the English Language. Now grow up and display some intellectual honesty for once in your life.

            “My definition is more accurate than yours.”

            Maybe in your little world, but not in the world of the Oxford Dictionary or any other dictionary. However, you are entitled to your little delusions.

            “First, you are relying on authority rather than reason. Secondly, you have provided no quotes or links for your authority source. And thirdly, you’ve presented no good reasons for using the definition you have presented.”

            First, I am relying on reason and demonstrating my reasoned conclusion is supported by the reasoned conclusions of linguistic scholars throughout history and linguistic scholars today. Secondly, I have clearly noted my source as any dictionary you wish to consult. And thirdly, I have provided no good reasons other than it fits with all we know of the historic use of the language, as well as all present use as supported by any dictionary you wish to reference. Other than that I have provided no support at all, you are correct. However, I hardly need more than that. It might be wise to consult a dictionary or two as it is obvious they are foreign territory to you. As I have already pointed out, you are fighting a linguistic, semantic and logical battle you cannot possibly win.

            “Chimps and Gorillas do not have Homo Sapiens DNA.”

            Humans share, according to evolutionists, about 95% of their DNA with humans. Therefore, I am correct in my conclusion you could include chimps and gorillas in the human category by your definition of what constitutes a human person.

            NOTE: I would like to make it clear I do not support the conclusions of evolutionists in this matter. I think the percentage of shared DNA is lower than the 95-98% often quoted. But the fact remains, apes and humans do share DNA.

            “By your definition, a human zygote would be classified as a human person, which is ridiculous.”

            A human zygote is, by definition, human. Therefore, by the definition found in all dictionaries, a person. It matters not one iota how ridiculous Gary thinks that is. You just can’t win for losing, pal.

            “What is the experience of a zygote like?”

            I don’t know and neither do you. However, I do know that my lack of knowledge in this regard does not equate with the lack of human status on the zygote’s part. As I said before, logic is completely foreign to you. I would suggest you work on that problem.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            GW4: You have yet to defend your definition.

            GLT5: I realise atheists find it almost impossible to read anything they fear might disturb their little world but you’re going to have to find the courage as I am not going to start quoting dictionaries for you. I told you were to find my defence and they are all available via Google, so do some work for a change.

            GW5: Bad mouthing atheists is not a defense of your position. You are evading again. Also, if you are going to use a specific dictionary definition of “human person” or just “person,” then you are obligated to present the quote and the link (in addition to the citation). Since you have not done so, I can only evaluate the definition you presented in your own words, which was poor.

            GW4: If you disagree, then tell us why and defend your own definition.

            GLT5: For the fourth and last time, The Oxford Dictionary of the English Language. Now grow up and display some intellectual honesty for once in your life.

            GW4: Here you not only do not present the quote and the link, you make a personal attack which is uncalled for in a debate such as this. Focus on the issue, not on your opponent.

            GW4: My definition is more accurate than yours.

            GLT5: Maybe in your little world, but not in the world of the Oxford Dictionary or any other dictionary. However, you are entitled to your little delusions.

            GW5: You haven’t presented any specific quote and link from any dictionary, and so we are left with your own poor definition. Also, to say that I have delusions is another personal attack. Usually when a person in a debate makes personal attacks against their opponent, they have a very weak defense of their position on the issue, which appears to be the case here.

            GW4: First, you are relying on authority rather than reason. Secondly, you have provided no quotes or links for your authority source. And thirdly, you’ve presented no good reasons for using the definition you have presented.

            GLT5: First, I am relying on reason and demonstrating my reasoned conclusion is supported by the reasoned conclusions of linguistic scholars throughout history and linguistic scholars today. Secondly, I have clearly noted my source as any dictionary you wish to consult.

            GW5: You haven’t presented such. And so, we are left with your poor definition in your own words.

            GLT5: And thirdly, I have provided no good reasons other than it fits with all we know of the historic use of the language, as well as all present use as supported by any dictionary you wish to reference.

            GW5: No, your definition does not fit with the historic use of the language. Historically, persons have viewed “persons” as human individuals who are conscious, sense, think, feel, value, behave, make decisions, and communicate.

            GLT5: Other than that I have provided no support at all, you are correct. However, I hardly need more than that.

            GW5: You have failed to provide an adequate defense of your position.

            GLT5: It might be wise to consult a dictionary or two as it is obvious they are foreign territory to you. As I have already pointed out, you are fighting a linguistic, semantic and logical battle you cannot possibly win.

            GW5: It would be wise and ethical for you to present the quote and link for the dictionary you claim to be using. Winning seems really important to you.

            GW4: Chimps and Gorillas do not have Homo Sapiens DNA.

            GLT5: Humans share, according to evolutionists, about 95% of their DNA with humans. Therefore, I am correct in my conclusion you could include chimps and gorillas in the human category by your definition of what constitutes a human person.

            GW5: Thank you. You have supported my point that chimps and gorillas do not have Homo Sapiens DNA. The DNA of these three types of animals can be easily distinguished by experts.

            GW4: By your definition, a human zygote would be classified as a human person, which is ridiculous.

            GLT5: A human zygote is, by definition, human. Therefore, by the definition found in all dictionaries, a person.

            GW5: You are making a straw man argument here. Of course, a human zygote is human! I never said it wasn’t, and I don’t know anybody who has said it wasn’t. But by your definition a human zygote is a human person, and that is false and ridiculous. A human zygote is a human organism at the earliest stage of development, but it is not a person.

            GW4: What is the experience of a zygote like?

            GLT5: I don’t know and neither do you.

            GW5: We know that a zygote does not have experiences! This is why it is not a person. All persons have experiences.

            GLT5: However, I do know that my lack of knowledge in this regard does not equate with the lack of human status on the zygote’s part.

            GW5: The problem is that you apparently did not know that human zygotes do not have experiences. If I tended toward incivility, as you have, I would really belittle you at this point in much detail, but I won’t do that.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>Fetuses are human organisms, but most of them are not persons

            This is a religious statement, Gary. Congratulations, you got religion.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            Sorry, but that is a scientific and philosophical statement which has nothing to do with religion.

            Do you agree with it? If not, explain and defend your position.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>and philosophical statement

            Correct, its a philosophical statement based on a world view. That is religion. So, Gary, you are a religion man.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            All religions are worldviews, but all worldviews are not religions.

            How are you defining “religion”?

            And what is your religion?

          • GPS Daddy

            >>All religions are worldviews, but all worldviews are not religions.

            A worldview that posits what life is, is the basis of religion. To be a religion you need to have faith in the assumptions that your worldview makes. You do make these assumptions, Gary. And you have faith that they are true. Assumptions about the nature of life + faith = religion. You have both as demonstrated by that statement.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            But you answered neither of my two questions. Please try again.

            How are you defining “religion”?

            And what is your religion?

            And try to answer this one too: How are you defining “faith”?

          • GPS Daddy

            I did answer the question. You need to spend time understanding it.

          • GLT

            “but all worldviews are not religions.”

            How about an example? And don’t say atheism as it is easily classified as religious in nature.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            Atheism isn’t even a worldview. Secular humanism is a worldview which is not a religion.

            Now, when are you going to answer my questions to you? Do you expect this to be a discussion where you ask all the questions and I give all the answers? Sorry, that’s not going to work. Please answer the questions I have posed to you. Stop beating around the bush.

          • GLT

            “Atheism isn’t even a worldview.”

            Certainly it is. Anyone who adheres to atheism views the world differently than one who adheres to theism, that is as simple and as logical as anything can get. That is, by plain definition, the meaning of a worldview. To claim otherwise is palpable nonsense and totally irrational.

            Depending on the term person as the basis for determining value is a dangerous slope to navigate. Is a person simply someone who is human or is a person a human who meets a certain set of criteria? If it is the latter I am sure you see the inherent problems such a position entails.

            “Is a human zygote a person? If you think so, then why do you think that?”

            Logically, yes. The reason I believe that is simply because it can be nothing else unless you define one as a person based solely on subjective criteria. If you do so then why would you or I qualify as a person if someone wished to define us as not a person? Can a human zygote be anything other than a human and can a human be anything other than a person?

          • Gary Whittenberger

            GW1: Atheism isn’t even a worldview.

            GLT1: Certainly it is. Anyone who adheres to atheism views the world differently than one who adheres to theism, that is as simple and as logical as anything can get. That is, by plain definition, the meaning of a worldview. To claim otherwise is palpable nonsense and totally irrational.

            GW2: Atheism is certainly not a worldview. It is simply the position of having no beliefs in the existence of God, gods, and/or the supernatural. A worldview is more comprehensive than that. Sure, most atheists have a worldview, but atheism itself is not a worldview. Do you believe in astrology? No? If not, then is the absence of those beliefs a worldview? Certainly not.

            GLT2: Depending on the term person as the basis for determining value is a dangerous slope to navigate. Is a person simply someone who is human or is a person a human who meets a certain set of criteria? If it is the latter I am sure you see the inherent problems such a position entails.

            GW2: We should define “person” independent of value. A person is not simply an organism which is human, but an organism which meets other criteria. What do you think those criteria are?

            GW1: Is a human zygote a person? If you think so, then why do you think that?

            GLT2: Logically, yes. The reason I believe that is simply because it can be nothing else unless you define one as a person based solely on subjective criteria.

            GW2: The zygote is not “nothing else;” it is something else! A zygote is a one-celled human organism. My criteria are no more subjective and no less objective than whatever criteria you are using to define “person.” What are your criteria for defining “person”?

            GLT2: If you do so then why would you or I qualify as a person if someone wished to define us as not a person?

            GW2: We are not concerned here about other peoples’ definitions. You and I are trying to nail down the correct definition of “person.” How do you define “person”?

            GLT2: Can a human zygote be anything other than a human and can a human be anything other than a person?

            GW2: Answer to the first = No. Answer to the second = Yes. Now, what is your definition of “human person”?

          • John Connor

            The disbelief in any god or gods is religious. Hmmm. What are the tenets of atheism? Who or what do they worship?

          • GLT

            What are the tenets of atheism?

            To name a few:
            There is no God.
            There is nothing beyond the natural realm.
            Miracles cannot occur.
            There is no such thing as sin.
            Ethics and morals are relative.

            “Who or what do they worship?”

            Atheists worship whatever it is that replaces God in their minds. Some worship science, some worship the intellect of man and others worship the creation over the creator. Whatever the individual atheist uses to replace God is what he worships, which could include the firmly held belief that he does not worship anything.

          • John Connor

            Nonsense. Atheists worship nothing. That’s just a talking point from religionists.

          • GLT

            “Atheists worship nothing.”

            That is the true nonsense. Everybody, including atheists, will worship something, it is a basic component of the human psyche. You can deny it all you wish, which I have no doubt you will but it does not change the facts. Sorry.

          • John Connor

            Point me towards any reference that supports everyone worshipping something. Facts please.

          • GLT

            Do some basic study in the area of psychology, it will become apparent to you very quickly. Man has basic needs and the needs will be filled one way or another. One of the basic needs is an appeal to a power beyond oneself. Something for which one can strive. Whatever a man chooses to fulfill that need he will begin to worship. It can be work, it can be family, it can be virtually anything but something will fill that role.

          • swordfish

            Going to work or looking after your family isn’t ‘worship’.

          • GLT

            “Sorry, but that is a scientific and philosophical statement,…”

            I will agree it is a philosophical statement but it is in no way, shape or form, a scientific statement as science has clearly demonstrated a fetus to be fully human.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            Thanks for your half agreement. Good start.

            Of course, human organisms, human fetuses, and human persons are all “fully human.” They all have a full complement of human DNA. But this does not change the fact that “Fetuses are human organisms, but most of them are not persons.”

            What is a person? Is a human zygote a person? If you think so, then why do you think that?

          • GLT

            “If a stranger’s fetus is so precious to you, then you should agree to adopt it before it is aborted.”

            In Canada and I would assume the US as well, there are tens of thousands of people wanting to adopt a child. There is, for some reason, a shortage of children to adopt.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            Many of those people are picky. They won’t take just any baby. And most won’t adopt any fetus, sight unseen.

            I think you are missing my point made to Dorothy.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>Many of those people are picky. They won’t take just any baby. And most won’t adopt any fetus, sight unseen.

            Thats a heartless and untrue statement. Shame on you.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            That is a true statement. Ask a hundred people on the adoption list what are their criteria which a baby must meet in order for them to adopt one. Most of them have criteria and will not take just any baby.

            Some will not take a baby of a different race. Some will not take a baby with handicaps. Some will not take a quite sick baby.

            Shame on you for calling my true statement “heartless and untrue.” It is neither.

            Since you seem to value strangers’ fetuses so much, are you willing to sign adoption papers right now by which you agree to accept a baby which results from a fetus which a woman is now considering for abortion? Are you willing to save this fetus from death by adopting it now? If not, why not?

          • GPS Daddy

            That is a total distortion of what the adoption process is like. Shame on you for framing it from that way. But I cannot expect as much from you.

            It is a heartless and untrue statement. Not a shred of decency it in.

          • John Connor

            Obviously you have no experience in the adoption industry. Completely true.

          • GPS Daddy

            Obviously you do not know what your talking about, John. Best leave this one alone.

          • John Connor

            Lol

          • GLT

            “Some will not take a quite sick baby.”

            I know more than a few people who specifically want handicapped children for the express reason that they wish to save them from your type of mindset. A mind set which may some day come to haunt you when for some reason you are deemed expendable. If I know as many as I do, it is a safe assumption there is way more people like that than you would be willing to admit. Your reasoning is nonsense, to say the least.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            Do you know “more than a few” people who do not want to adopt a handicapped baby? I do. So, my claims are correct. Some will not take a baby of a different race. Some will not take a baby with handicaps. Some will not take a quite sick baby. All these claims are true. You know it.

            My reasoning is correct.

          • GLT

            “Do you know “more than a few” people who do not want to adopt a handicapped baby? I do. So, my claims are correct.”

            Logic is totally foreign to you, isn’t it. You know some people who do not want a sick child so that means most, if not all, do not want a sick child even though you have been told I know people who specifically want sick children.

            Suppose we agree that most people do not want to adopt a sick or handicapped child. is that justification for abortion? Is that justification for infanticide?

            Seriously, do you ever think your arguments through to see where they inevitably lead logically? It does not appear so. It seems as if you simply spout rhetoric by rote without applying any thought at all to what you’re saying.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            GW1: Now you are distorting what I said. Notice in these three claims, I said “some” and not “all” or “most: “Some will not take a baby of a different race. Some will not take a baby with handicaps. Some will not take a quite sick baby.” All these claims are true.

            GLT1: Suppose we agree that most people do not want to adopt a sick or handicapped child. is that justification for abortion?

            GW1: So now you are ready to agree? Yes, it’s hard to deny the truth. Before the developing human organism becomes a person, any reason at all which the woman gives for having an abortion is good enough! You are the one who has been claiming that women should not get abortions because there are plenty of opportunities to put up their resulting babies for adoption. I have shown that this is not so easy because some (I’ll say more than half of) couples waiting to adopt have criteria which must be met by the baby (race, country of origin, age, handicap vs. no handicap, etc) before they will adopt it. We don’t need to be unnecessarily creating more babies to fill adoption slots, when we have many children who are orphaned, abused, or neglected who need homes.

            GW1: Now you still haven’t answered my question regarding adoption. If you value some stranger’s fetus so much, are you willing to sign adoption papers now in order to save that fetus from abortion? If not, why not? I suspect that you will continue to evade my questions. You have a bad habit of doing that.

          • GLT

            “So now you are ready to agree?”

            I have no idea how you came to that conclusion but knowing your track record when it comes to logic it does not surprise me. You have a habit of making wild leaps with no logical element to support them. You should work on overcoming that habit.

            “We don’t need to be unnecessarily creating more babies to fill adoption slots, when we have many children who are orphaned, abused, or neglected who need homes.”

            More Gary Whittenberger logic. We have many children who are orphaned, abused or neglected who need homes, so the obvious solution to that problem is to kill innocent children in the womb. Good grief man, can you reason at all? Because children in the world have problems is no reason to kill children before they are born.

            I can agree with some one supporting the idea of not creating more children via birth control, but not with someone promoting the idea of killing them once they have been created. That is the status of the fetus, it is a created child, a created human, a created person. No semantic and linguistic gymnastics can change that fact. Humans are not created when they are born, they are created when they are conceived, that is a simple and sound scientific fact.

            “are you willing to sign adoption papers now in order to save that fetus from abortion?”

            In a nanosecond. However, my age and my status as a Christian would work against me in Canada. If by simply signing the papers I could save a fetus from abortion I would do so, but such an action has no status in a Canadian court. In short, I would, but I am powerless to do so. I hope that answers your question.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            GW1: So now you are ready to agree?

            GLT2: I have no idea how you came to that conclusion…

            GW2: Well, you said “Suppose we agree that most people do not want to adopt a sick or handicapped child…” which fits exactly with the claims which I made earlier which you had been disputing. These claims were “Some will not take a baby with handicaps. Some will not take a quite sick baby.” “Most people” includes “some people.” Now you should have a good idea of how I came to that conclusion.

            GW1: We don’t need to be unnecessarily creating more babies to fill adoption slots, when we have many children who are orphaned, abused, or neglected who need homes.

            GLT2: We have many children who are orphaned, abused or neglected who need homes, so the obvious solution to that problem is to kill innocent children in the womb.

            GW2: Fetuses in the womb are neither innocent nor guilty, but you keep falsely saying they are. You wish to force women who don’t want to produce babies and who want abortions to continue their pregnancies and give up their newborns to adopting couples. But your plan is totally impractical. There aren’t enough adopting couples to go around. Imagine if Roe v. Wade had not been decided and abortion were illegal, as you wish. We would be looking for adopting parents for at least 40 million additional babies, following your plan! You won’t even adopt one fetus to save it from abortion. We should reserve the adopting couples for children who are orphaned, abused, or neglected. Then we might hope that there would be enough adopting couples to take care of these poor children.

            GLT2: I can agree with some one supporting the idea of not creating more children via birth control, but not with someone promoting the idea of killing them once they have been created. That is the status of the fetus, it is a created child, a created human, a created person.

            GW2: The human zygote, embryo, and early fetus are not persons with rights. Why do you believe we should assign them rights? As a back-up to contraception, abortion is a wonderful tool to prevent additional unwanted babies from being born. Abortion is very useful for those situations in which the couple mistakenly failed to use contraception or the contraceptive device failed. Why are you so against it?

            GLT2: Humans are not created when they are born, they are created when they are conceived, that is a simple and sound scientific fact.

            GW2: Human organisms are produced at conception. Human organisms become human persons when they develop a brain enabling consciousness.

            GW1: are you willing to sign adoption papers now in order to save that fetus from abortion?

            GLT2: In a nanosecond. However, my age and my status as a Christian would work against me in Canada. If by simply signing the papers I could save a fetus from abortion I would do so, but such an action has no status in a Canadian court. In short, I would, but I am powerless to do so. I hope that answers your question.

            GW2: What do you mean by saying that your age and status as a Christian would work against you? “Simply signing the papers” means you would be committing yourself to child care for at least 18 years; you do realize that, don’t you? Are you implying that in Canada you can’t adopt a fetus before birth? I don’t think I believe you. Are you implying that in Canada you can’t sign a contract to adopt a baby at birth if the mother agrees not to abort her fetus? I don’t think I believe you. Are you willing to move to the US to make all this happen? If not, why not?

            GW2: Abortions are easier to get in Canada than in the US, right?

          • GLT

            “Fetuses in the womb are neither innocent nor guilty, but you keep falsely saying they are.”

            i never said they were guilty of anything, I simply said they are innocent of any action that would justify their killing. Big difference in case you were not able to figure that out.

            “You wish to force women who don’t want to produce babies,…”

            People need to take responsibility for their actions. If one wishes not to become pregnant there are many ways to avoid doing so. Once pregnant it is no longer only about the woman.

            “There aren’t enough adopting couples to go around.”

            I can’t speak to where you live but I know in the area of Canada where I live there is a waiting list of several thousands, including my daughter and her family.

            “We would be looking for adopting parents for at least 40 million additional babies,…”

            Talk about making up statistics, you have no basis for that number whatsoever. It is all in your imagination. You cannot create the situation without Roe v Wade so you cannot come up with any accurate numbers, so please, let this nonsense go and stick to what can be known.

            “You won’t even adopt one fetus to save it from abortion.”

            I never said that, ever. In fact I said the exact opposite. I said I would take a child in a nanosecond if I could. You are now presenting bald faced lies. Is that how low you will stoop in an effort to prove your case. Very sad indeed. I pity you.

            “We should reserve the adopting couples for children who are orphaned, abused, or neglected. Then we might hope that there would be enough adopting couples to take care of these poor children.”

            Whittenberger logic strikes again. There are too many neglected children already so Gary says, let’s kill unborn children to save them the trauma of neglect and abuse. And you wonder why I believe atheists do not grasp logic. Look in the proverbial mirror.

            “The human zygote, embryo, and early fetus are not persons with rights.”

            Under some legal jurisdictions that would be true. However, being without legal rights does not mean one is without the moral right to protection. You must learn to distinguish between legal arguments and moral and ethical arguments, they are not necessarily the same.

            “Why do you believe we should assign them rights?”

            Because I see it as morally and ethically correct.

            “As a back-up to contraception, abortion is a wonderful tool to prevent additional unwanted babies from being born.”

            Sorry, Gary, but that is an appallingly disgusting statement. Wonderful tool of abortion is without a doubt the biggest oxymoron one could create. Absolutely disgusting.

            “Why are you so against it?”

            Maybe, just maybe, the totally unnecessary destruction of a human life might have something to do with it. Why do you think I would be against it? You really cannot be that stolid.

            “Human organisms become human persons when they develop a brain enabling consciousness.”

            That is a wholly philosophical argument, it is not a scientific argument as science clearly demonstrates and supports humanity from the moment of conception.

            “What do you mean by saying that your age and status as a Christian would work against you?”

            I mean exactly that the statement said. Where I live I and my wife would be considered too old to adopt. We would also be seen as unsuitable due to our Christian beliefs as our government wants families that hold to no religious beliefs. I have not stated it before but I do have health issues which would work against me. I do not wish to discuss that issue, so please, do not try to pursue it.

            “Simply signing the papers” means you would be committing yourself to child care for at least 18 years;…”

            Why do you assume the process and rules governing adoption are the same as where you live? You have no idea what the process and rules are where I live. Besides, if I was able to adopt I would commit for a lifetime, not only 18 years. Maybe stick to talking about facts rather than your fanciful ideas.

            “Are you implying that in Canada you can’t adopt a fetus before birth? I don’t think I believe you.”

            I’m really sorry to have to say this but it is, sadly, the truth. You are without a doubt the most dense individual with whom I have ever tried to carry on a conversation. I told you I am considered too old to be considered for adoption, whether prenatal or postnatal. What part of that statement do you not understand? I am really puzzled as to your inability to comprehend the meaning of plain English. It is truly stunning.

            “Are you willing to move to the US to make all this happen? If not, why not?”

            My gosh, you are an arrogant, condescending little twerp. What I choose to do and why I choose to do it is none of your business, so drop this line of thought right now or I am done. Is that clear? Stick to the questions at hand, I do not intend to let you turn this into a personal attack on me because I do not agree with your agenda.

            “Abortions are easier to get in Canada than in the US, right?”

            I do not know. What on Earth is your point?

          • Gary Whittenberger

            GW2: Fetuses in the womb are neither innocent nor guilty, but you keep falsely saying they are.

            GLT3: i never said they were guilty of anything, I simply said they are innocent of any action that would justify their killing.

            GW3: You keep falsely saying they are innocent, which implies that they could be innocent or guilty, which is false. They are neither innocent nor guilty. On the other hand, there are many relevant justifications for killing fetuses.

            GLT3: Big difference in case you were not able to figure that out.

            GW3: This is just unnecessary, petty, condescending, irrelevant chatter. I’m just going to ignore that chatter from now on. Try to stick to the substantive points.

            GW3: You wish to force women who don’t want to produce babies,…

            GLT3: People need to take responsibility for their actions. If one wishes not to become pregnant there are many ways to avoid doing so. Once pregnant it is no longer only about the woman.

            GW3: Women who get abortions are taking responsibility for their actions! Usually, they are correcting their and/or their partner’s mistake in not using contraceptives. There are other good reasons. Once the woman is pregnant, it is about the woman, her partner, the rest of her family, the community, and humanity as a whole. Her mistaken pregnancy has resulted in an “unpersoned embryo” which has no rights and may be killed by the woman herself.

            GW2: There aren’t enough adopting couples to go around.

            GLT3: I can’t speak to where you live but I know in the area of Canada where I live there is a waiting list of several thousands, including my daughter and her family.

            GW3: But even in Canada, there are not enough adopting couples to go around IF abortion were illegal and your adoption option were encouraged.

            GW2: We would be looking for adopting parents for at least 40 million additional babies,…

            GLT3: Talk about making up statistics, you have no basis for that number whatsoever. It is all in your imagination. You cannot create the situation without Roe v Wade..

            GW3: You have made a prediction that there would be very few additional babies if abortion had become illegal. I have made a different prediction which is better than yours.

            GW2: You won’t even adopt one fetus to save it from abortion.

            GLT3: I never said that, ever. In fact I said the exact opposite. I said I would take a child in a nanosecond if I could.

            GW3: Yes, you have said you would adopt a fetus to save it from abortion, but this doesn’t mean that you actually would. So far you’ve just given lame excuses for why you can’t. Let’s discuss those excuses to assess your sincerity.

            GW2: We should reserve the adopting couples for children who are orphaned, abused, or neglected. Then we might hope that there would be enough adopting couples to take care of these poor children.

            GLT3: There are too many neglected children already so Gary says, let’s kill unborn children to save them the trauma of neglect and abuse.

            GW3: No, Gary says pregnant women can kill their fetuses for any reason they want and that your plan to save all these unwanted fetuses is impractical. If they were all saved and put up for adoption, the adoption system would be overwhelmed. Better to reserve these generous adopting couples for the orphaned, neglected, and abused children which have already been born.

            GW2: The human zygote, embryo, and early fetus are not persons with rights.

            GLT3: Under some legal jurisdictions that would be true. However, being without legal rights does not mean one is without the moral right to protection. You must learn to distinguish between legal arguments and moral and ethical arguments, they are not necessarily the same.

            GW3: Human zygotes, embryos, and early fetuses are not persons anywhere in the world. (You and I are debating personhood.) In all states of the US most have not been assigned legal rights, although it does depend on the age of the fetus. I know the difference between moral and legal rights. In the US most communities have not assigned moral rights to zygotes, embryos, and early fetuses, and that is the correct position.

            GW2: Why do you believe we should assign them rights?

            GLT3: Because I see it as morally and ethically correct.

            GW3: That is just circular reasoning. It is like saying “We should assign them rights because they should have rights.” Why?

            GW2: As a back-up to contraception, abortion is a wonderful tool to prevent additional unwanted babies from being born.

            GLT3: Sorry, Gary, but that is an appallingly disgusting statement.

            GW3: Your emotional reactions do not constitute an argument. If you disagree with my claim, then tell us your reasons or present an argument. We aren’t interested in knowing your emotions.

            GW2: Why are you so against it?

            GLT3: Maybe, just maybe, the totally unnecessary destruction of a human life might have something to do with it.

            GW3: Does it? Explain and defend your position.

            GLT3: Why do you think I would be against it?

            GW3: I don’t need to speculate when I can ask you directly. Explain and defend your opposition to abortion.

            GW2: Human organisms become human persons when they develop a brain enabling consciousness.

            GLT3: That is a wholly philosophical argument, it is not a scientific argument as science clearly demonstrates and supports humanity from the moment of conception.

            GW3: It is a statement based on both philosophy and science. Here you are making another straw man argument since I have never denied that the zygote is human. It is just not a human person.

            GW2: What do you mean by saying that your age and status as a Christian would work against you?

            GLT3: I mean exactly that the statement said. Where I live I and my wife would be considered too old to adopt.

            GW3: Adoption agencies cannot discriminate against applicants on the basis of age, not in the US and probably not in Canada. So, you are just giving an excuse here.

            GLT3: We would also be seen as unsuitable due to our Christian beliefs as our government wants families that hold to no religious beliefs.

            GW3: Adoption agencies cannot discriminate against applicants on the basis of religion, not in the US and probably not in Canada. So, you are just giving another excuse here.

            GLT3: I have not stated it before but I do have health issues which would work against me. I do not wish to discuss that issue, so please, do not try to pursue it.

            GW3: Why did you not state it before? Do you state it now because you realize that the other two reasons you gave, i.e. age and religion, are just excuses? Your health issue may not be disqualifying; it depends on what it is. But let’s suppose your health issue would make you an unsuitable parent. Some women want to get abortions because they have health issues and believe they would be an unsuitable parent, and yet you want to make it immoral and illegal for them to get abortions. Do you see the hypocrisy in that? You want a reason to be a good one in your case but a bad one for the pregnant woman.

            GW2: Simply signing the papers” means you would be committing yourself to child care for at least 18 years;…

            GLT3: Why do you assume the process and rules governing adoption are the same as where you live? You have no idea what the process and rules are where I live. Besides, if I was able to adopt I would commit for a lifetime, not only 18 years.

            GW3: I make no such assumptions. If I can arrange for you to legally adopt a fetus to prevent it from being aborted, will you agree to come to the US to make this happen? Will you sign a contract to do this?

            GW2: Are you willing to move to the US to make all this happen? If not, why not?

            GLT3: My gosh, you are an arrogant, condescending little twerp.

            GW3: You are evading my questions and challenges by making a personal attack. You are losing control of your anger. That’s strike one! Try to get a grip on yourself. If you don’t, then I will have to end this discussion.

          • swordfish

            When abortions were illegal, there were plenty of backstreet abortions and they were certainly not state sanctioned, so that is a red herring.

            As for the death of foetuses, that happens frequently due to miscarriages, which are presumably God’s handiwork?

          • Dorothy Pohl-Scot

            Or nature.

        • GLT

          “Your phrase “the murder of unborn innocents” is inaccurate, misleading, deceptive, histrionic, and mean.”

          Why?

          • Gary Whittenberger

            You will see why by reading and studying my preceding response to Tom Gilson.

          • GLT

            Seriously, that’s the basis for your claim?

            “And so, “unborn” is biased and misleading.”

            How do you come to that conclusion? It certainly does follow logically from your statements.

            “Fetuses are neither innocent nor guilty because they do not have the capacity to make moral of legal choices.”

            Being innocent is not solely dependent upon the capacity to carry out moral choices or actions. One can be innocent simply due to not being involved in a moral choice or action. Such is the nature of the fetus.

            “The term is rarely applicable to abortion.”

            Any definition of a legal killing of an individual is, by nature of the definition, not murder. However, every such definition is based on the assumption the individual being killed has made a free moral decision which could possibly result in his justifiable killing. Actions such as murder of another individual, crimes against humanity and treason. Again, this is not the situation with a fetus. A fetus may have its life terminated for no reason at all other than the whim of another.

            “Your analysis of the abortion issue is superficial, naive, and irrational.”

            Ironically, that defines your position very accurately.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            GW1: And so, “unborn” is biased and misleading.

            GLT2: How do you come to that conclusion? It certainly does follow logically from your statements.

            GW2: Yes, that’s right. It does follow logically.

            GW1: Fetuses are neither innocent nor guilty because they do not have the capacity to make moral of legal choices.

            GLT2: Being innocent is not solely dependent upon the capacity to carry out moral choices or actions. One can be innocent simply due to not being involved in a moral choice or action. Such is the nature of the fetus.

            GW2: I strongly disagree and believe you are totally mistaken about this. “Innocent” and “guilty” are adjectives which can only be used to describe human organisms which have the capacities to make moral and/or legal choices. Such is the nature of the fetus — it doesn’t have those capacities. It is like calling a frog “illiterate.” The adjective just does not apply.

            GW1: The term [murder] is rarely applicable to abortion.

            GLT2: Any definition of a legal killing of an individual is, by nature of the definition, not murder. However, every such definition is based on the assumption the individual being killed has made a free moral decision which could possibly result in his justifiable killing. Actions such as murder of another individual, crimes against humanity and treason. Again, this is not the situation with a fetus. A fetus may have its life terminated for no reason at all other than the whim of another.

            GW2: I also include the immoral killing of a person within “murder.” Your paragraph here is very confusing. I wish you’d reword it. One person’s whim is another person’s good reason.

          • GLT

            “I strongly disagree and believe you are totally mistaken about this.”

            Disagree all you want, my position is sound and logical and supported by observable facts.

            “Innocent” and “guilty” are adjectives which can only be used to describe human organisms which have the capacities to make moral and/or legal choices.”

            Not so, I’m afraid. The human fetus is not capable of making moral or legal choices but is nonetheless innocent of any offence. Children of a very young age are incapable of making many moral choices and would not be able to comprehend legal questions but can be guilty of committing an offence. The fact we may choose not to hold them responsible does not mean they are not guilty of committing that offence, it only means they will not suffer the legal consequences.

            “One person’s whim is another person’s good reason.”

            There are times when an abortion must be performed in order to save the mother, that is understood. However, the vast majority of abortions are performed for convenience, not necessity. Financial burden is not an argument of necessity as the child can be put up for adoption. Physical handicap is not a burden for the same reason as well as we do not get to determine quality of life for another individual.

            I don’t think my paragraph was confusing at all, I just don’t think you could follow the logic. I was not saying all abortions were done on a whim, I was stating, correctly, that they could be done on nothing more than a whim.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            GW2: I strongly disagree and believe you are totally mistaken about this.

            GLT3: Disagree all you want, my position is sound and logical and supported by observable facts.

            GW3: No, it’s not.

            GW2: “Innocent” and “guilty” are adjectives which can only be used to describe human organisms which have the capacities to make moral and/or legal choices.”

            GLT3: Not so, I’m afraid. The human fetus is not capable of making moral or legal choices but is nonetheless innocent of any offence.

            GW3: Yes, so, and I’m not afraid. It is impossible for a human fetus to be innocent of anything. The concept just doesn’t apply to human fetuses. Is it possible for a frog to be illiterate? Of course not! Frogs can be neither literate nor illiterate, just like human fetuses can be neither innocent nor guilty.

            GLT3: Children of a very young age are incapable of making many moral choices and would not be able to comprehend legal questions but can be guilty of committing an offence. The fact we may choose not to hold them responsible does not mean they are not guilty of committing that offence, it only means they will not suffer the legal consequences.

            GW3: You are confusing two different things — being capable of moral choices and being held accountable for moral choices. You don’t say what you mean by a “very young age,” but no baby is capable of moral choices, and thus babies (like fetuses) can be neither innocent nor guilty.

            GW2: One person’s whim is another person’s good reason.

            GLT3: There are times when an abortion must be performed in order to save the mother, that is understood.

            GW3: Yes, I agree with you. This goes to show that what one person, e.g. a radical pro-lifer, might consider a whim, another person would consider a good reason. When you call a reason “a whim,” I think you just mean that you don’t agree with it.

            GLT3: However, the vast majority of abortions are performed for convenience, not necessity.

            GW3: I think you are mistaken about this. The vast majority of abortions are performed for good reasons. I know what you mean by “necessity,” but what do you mean by “convenience” in the abortion context? Please give a definition and at least two examples.

            GLT3: Financial burden is not an argument of necessity as the child can be put up for adoption.

            GW3: Getting an abortion because of impoverishment is not a reason of necessity, but it is still a good reason. A woman should not produce a baby if she does not have the financial means to take care of it and herself without government assistance. A woman in this situation could put the resulting baby up for adoption, but she shouldn’t. She should get an abortion instead. Another baby just adds to world population, and the world is already overpopulated. In today’s world, on average, each couple should have no more than one baby.

            GLT3: Physical handicap is not a burden for the same reason as well as we do not get to determine quality of life for another individual.

            GW3: When an abortion takes place, the fetus is not a person and it has no rights. The pregnant woman DOES get to choose whether to abort her own fetus if it has a handicap, defect, disorder, or disease. Sorry, you don’t get to choose for her.

            GLT3: I don’t think my paragraph was confusing at all, I just don’t think you could follow the logic. I was not saying all abortions were done on a whim, I was stating, correctly, that they could be done on nothing more than a whim.

            GW3: I think when you talk of a “whim,” you just mean a reason you don’t agree with. And so, we must debate specific reasons, as we did above.

            GW3: I believe that a woman should be able to remove the zygote, embryo, or early fetus (not a person) from her own body for ANY REASON WHATSOEVER, whether you consider it a whim or not. Who cares if you consider it a whim? I don’t. The pregnant woman doesn’t. And the current law doesn’t either.

          • GLT

            “Yes, that’s right. It does follow logically.”

            Nice try, but I am sure you realise that is simply a typo; now corrected; and as such not wise to rely on it for any weight for your position.

        • Eugene O’Neill

          From the moment of conception,the fetus,is a human being with potential. To kill this nascent human life is unjustified and evil. Abortion is murder plain and simple and those who support it are evil. Full stop! “The fool says in his heart, There is no God.”
          They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
          there is none who does good.
          The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man,
          to see if there are any who understand,
          who mseek after God.
          They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
          there is none who does good,
          not even one. Psalm 14

          • Gary Whittenberger

            EO1: From the moment of conception,the fetus,is a human being with potential.

            GW1: That’s not quite correct, but close. From the moment of conception the human organism has the potential to develop many capacities.

            EO1: To kill this nascent human life is unjustified and evil.

            GW1: Why do you think so?

            EO1: Abortion is murder plain and simple and those who support it are evil. Full stop!

            GW1: Why do think abortion is murder? Why do you think those who support abortion are evil? Full stop!

            EO1: “The fool says in his heart, There is no God.”
            They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
            there is none who does good.
            The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man,
            to see if there are any who understand,
            who mseek after God.
            They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
            there is none who does good,
            not even one. Psalm 14

            GW1: Why are you quoting the Bible? What does that have to do with abortion?

  • James

    “Second, yes, their atheism is humanly impossible; still they prefer it to God — any God, even the gracious God of the Bible, whose supreme love gives us the real worth and dignity that an empty universe cannot.”

    The same God who flooded the Earth, destroyed cities with fire and brimstone, and sent the plagues of Egypt? That God?

    • JNWesner

      I had already copied that same quotation, intending to respond to it very much as you did. I did really get a hoot out of it, though.

    • GPS Daddy

      >>The same God who flooded the Earth

      Gen 6:5, “The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on
      the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart
      was only evil all the time.”

      So, James, are you saying that a loving God cannot bring justice? How can a loving God let evil reign? One of the criticism that atheists use to debunk God is that there is so much evil in the world today. Yet, you use the fact that God did deal with this evil generation as evidence that He is not loving.. Please explain.

      • James

        Let’s just go to the plagues of Egypt: Why kill all the firstborn sons in Egypt because of Pharoah’s stubbornness?

        • GPS Daddy

          Wait a minute. Lets take these one by one. You used the flood as evidence that the God of the bible is not a loving God. Now when questioned your backing off? If so then edit the post to remove the flood. If not then please explain.

          • James

            You’re dodging the question, but the principal is the same. How many children were drowned in the flood? Burned in Sodom? We they wicked children or not?

            Let’s get some principles here: At what point is it loving for God to destroy a people?

          • GLT

            “At what point is it loving for God to destroy a people?”

            At what point do you consider God to be subject to our judgment?

          • swordfish

            When he/she/it behaves worse than any person.

          • GLT

            “When he/she/it behaves worse than any person.”

            So are you admitting God exists and also saying he is subject to your judgement?

          • swordfish

            No, I don’t believe God exists, but I can certainly judge his behaviour as presented in the Bible.

          • GLT

            “No, I don’t believe God exists, but I can certainly judge his behaviour as presented in the Bible.”

            I am beginning to firmly believe logic is a totally foreign concept to most if not all atheists. Do you not comprehend the palpable foolishness inherent in that statement? If God does not exist in reality, he does not exist anywhere. Therefore, the contempt you hold for the biblical depiction of God should not be directed toward a non-existent entity, it should be rightly and logically directed toward mankind as they were the perpetrators of the acts for which you wish to blame God. If God does not exist how can you logically hate him and judge him for those things he could not possibly have done? WOW!

            I seriously and sincerely suggest you do some work on critical thinking because right now you possess not a whiff, nothing. It would be funny if it were not so sad and intellectually dangerous.

          • Patrick

            How moronic. You’re smarter than this. Or maybe you’re actually not. You’re full of it. You know that the judgment of the alleged behavior of your alleged deity is hypothetical. It’s a thought process. You’re being obtuse, as always.

          • swordfish

            I see God as a fictional character. I judge his behaviour in the same sense that I would judge Darth Vader’s behaviour. As for:

            “it [contempt] should be rightly and logically directed toward mankind as they were the perpetrators of the acts for which you wish to blame God.”

            Erm, no – God did the murdering in the flood.

          • GLT

            swordfish: “I see God as a fictional character. I judge his behaviour in the same sense that I would judge Darth Vader’s behaviour.”

            swordfish: “Erm, no – God did the murdering in the flood.”

            So, swordfish, you believe the flood really happened? Interesting.

            Which is it, swordfish, is God a fictional character or not? If God is a fictional character how can he be responsible for murder by causing the flood? Following your line of reasoning James Earl Jones should be prosecuted for murder as a result of his destruction of Alderaan.

            All you have done is reinforce my belief regards atheists and logic.

          • swordfish

            Have you heard of the word ‘hypothetical’?

          • GLT

            Don’t even try going there, swordfish. When I see you on web sites attacking Darth Vader as frequently and as voraciously as you attack God I might put some credence in your argument, not until then.

          • swordfish

            If you believe in God, you can’t reject criticism of your God’s reported behaviour on the grounds that the person pointing out this behaviour doesn’t believe in said God. That position makes no sense at all.

            As an atheist, it obviously isn’t God’s behaviour which bothers me, it’s the fact that millions of people worship this cruel, genocidal, homophobic God. The reason I don’t complain about Darth Vader is because there aren’t millions of people worshiping Mr. Vader.

          • GLT

            “If you believe in God, you can’t reject criticism of your God’s reported behaviour on the grounds that the person pointing out this behaviour doesn’t believe in said God. That position makes no sense at all.”

            Your comment makes no sense at all. Of course I cannot reject your criticism of God, such criticism is totally your prerogative. A prerogative given to you by God it should be noted. Atheistic philosophers increasingly wish to promote the idea we have no free will and that all we do and think are just the unavoidable product of the laws of physics. If they are correct your arguments are even more pointless as any actions carried out by mankind were beyond their ability to prevent, they were simply following the path instilled in them by the laws of physics. If true it also means your criticisms of God are actually not your prerogative after all. I see a certain irony in that situation, don’t you? Think about it for a while.

            But more directly to your point about my rejection of your criticisms of God. Even if I can’t reject your criticism, I can point out the inconsistencies and illogical nature of that criticism which is what I and others have done.

            “As an atheist, it obviously isn’t God’s behaviour which bothers me, it’s the fact that millions of people worship this cruel, genocidal, homophobic God.”

            As an atheist you consistently and conveniently overlook the history of atheism when it comes to genocide, cruelty and any other heinous act you may wish to mention. In the 20th century alone atheist regimes were responsible for more deaths and destruction and crimes against mankind than any ‘religious’ actions in the previous 19 centuries combined. You will deny this I know with the usual atheist whine about how none of those actions were done in the name of atheism. However, that excuse rings hollow in the face of the historical facts. If atheism is not to blame what or who is? You certainly cannot blame them on God as all who carried them out were like you, convinced God did not exist. As such their actions cannot be blamed on an adherence to a fictional god so that leaves you with nothing but atheism to blame. Sorry.

            “The reason I don’t complain about Darth Vader is because there aren’t millions of people worshiping Mr. Vader.”

            Why care about whether or not anybody worships any ‘fictional’ character? The fact that atheistic philosophy and atheistic regimes, which are all too real, are guilty of such horrible atrocities demands they should be the focus of your attention, not fictional characters. As has already been pointed out, if God is a fictional character he is not guilty of all you accuse him of, mankind is. As atheism holds mankind in the highest esteem it is obvious you need to focus your attention on mankind and his problems. Attacking a fictional character is simply not a productive or logical use of your energies.

          • GPS Daddy

            James,

            First, you did not ask that question. So how can I answer a question that was not asked?

            Let me ask you this: Can God take the
            life of someone and it is not murder? God’s safety can never be
            threatened so if God takes the life of someone would that be murder?
            The answer is no. God created life. He is the giver and taker of
            life. He alone owns life. This is seen in several verses like 1
            Samuel 2:6, “The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to
            Sheol and raises up.” But your missing the while context of the
            bible. This life that we live is not what is really important. Whats
            important is the next life that we live. This plays huge into the
            context of the question you pose. If God chooses to take the life of
            some children the bigger question is will those children be given the
            same opportunity for the next life if they had lived? So in either
            case, James, your delemia that you try and trap Christian in is not
            a real issue.

            But there is another issues as well.
            Take Germany in World War 2. Were children killed by the Allied
            bombings? If so, who’s head does that fall on? Were American bombers
            guilty of their deaths or were the German’s who choose to start the
            war guilty of their deaths? It’s clear that the German’s were
            responsible for putting their children in danger. They are the one’s
            who are guilty for their deaths.

            Now, you may counter that we humans did
            not have a choice in WW2 but God is all powerful and could have saved
            the children. But this would be missing the point that if there is a
            case that it is morally acceptable for man to take the lives of
            children then we cannot stand in judgment of God when He executes
            judgment on a people who that:

            “every
            inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the
            time.”

            But GLT is correct. Who are you to
            stand in judgment of God?

          • James

            So now I’m not supposed to ask questions either?

            A relationship that features violence, even with gifts and apologies, and that you are not allowed to question is not one of love but abuse.

          • GPS Daddy

            How about deal with what I wrote first.

          • James

            I’m not sure what your point is.

            That God can kill because he is God? Even conceding this point, this would not lead to a relationship of fear, not love.

            That we deserve it? Again, classic abusive relationship pattern: “He wouldn’t beat me if I hadn’t burned dinner.”

            Finally, it seems like a lot of your argument is contingent on there being an afterlife, which I am highly skeptical of. If heaven and hell were the ultimate human ends, why keep them so hidden? Why must God sell humanity a pig in a poke?

          • GPS Daddy

            >>That God can kill because he is God

            Yes, God can take back the life He gave because He owns all life. The life you have is not our own. It belongs to God. Neither do I own my life. It belongs to God. This is a basic principle. That makes God, God. Yes, your right, that at first does lead to fear. It should. But fear has different meanings. A synonym to fear is respect:

            Prov 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction”

            This is where you fail on your logic, James. God want to try and falsify the claim the God of the bible cannot be God because we claim that He is a God of love yet there are cases where fear is seen. But your making the mistake that Tom wrote about a week or two ago on liberal thinking. I think you commented on the article. If you need I can find the title for it. Your only thinking in two of the fife categories that was talking about in that article. God has every right to bring justice to those people he destroyed with the flood. He has every right to judge my life and he every right to judge your life. He has every right to service justice.

            Another mistake you are making is that this life is whats the important one. Its not:

            Matt 10:28, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.
            Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell”

            Yes, James, fear is a part of our relationship with God. But it is in balance with the rest of His characteristics. We see the same thing in the Father-child relationship. A father cannot be a good father if the father does not instill a sense of fear in his children.

          • James

            “A father cannot be a good father if the father does not instill a sense of fear in his children.”

            I think this is our fundamental disagreement.

            How do you reconcile this with the verse “Perfect love casts out fear.”?

          • GPS Daddy

            Right, perfect love does cast out fear. But does the child have perfect love? Love is a two way street. God loves us perfectly but we do not love Him perfectly. Therefore, God needs to discipline us. Fear (respect) is necessary in any healthy relationship.

          • James

            You seem to be changing the definition of “fear”.

            Should we be afraid of God? How is this reconciled with loving God?

          • GPS Daddy

            Not at all, James. Your the one who does not engage the biblical paradigm.

            I’m not going to answer you. Instead I refer you to the book of Proverbs.

          • James

            “Another mistake you are making is that this life is whats the important one. Its not:

            Matt 10:28, ‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell'”

            For this to be true, there must be a hell.

            The ideas of heaven and hell are very useful. It is the ultimate carrot-and-stick. But that they are useful does not mean they are true. What a great sucker would one be who chases a carrot or fears a stick that does not exist?

          • GPS Daddy

            Again, James, you ignore justice. Are you ready to tell me than we humans service justice? What if every person alive has evil of their hearts ALL THE TIME? Who will bring justice in that case?

          • James

            I am not ignoring justice at all.

            You seem to assume that the universe is inherently just. If the universe is inherently just, then you need a perfectly just judge, as well as judgments that can reach beyond the grave. I do not disagree with either of these points.

            I do not assume that the universe is inherently just. If the universe is not just, then there is no need for a judge or judgments.

            Humans have an idea about justice, what it is, and what it means to be just. But we are mediocre at best at actually doing it and we know it. Thus a fundamental human dilemma.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>You seem to assume that the universe is inherently just

            Thats a strange statement. In fact, its a really, really strange statement. So much so I’d say that you have either forgotten or your just ignoring that many posts I have responded too. The universe cannot be just or injust. Its material. Atoms, protons, and neutrons do not know anything about justice.

            God is the one who is just. In the context of this discussion how did you miss that?

            But here is the rub for you, James. Without the spiritual, you have no means a justice beyond the grave. Yet, you reject that the spiritual exists. More accurately, “you are very skeptical” that the spiritual world exists.

            >>Thus a fundamental human dilemma

            No, not at all. Its a dilemma for people who reject God.

          • James

            I missed nothing. Is God not a part of the universe? You believe that God is the thing that makes the universe just. Indeed, God (heaven, hell, etc.) is required to make the universe just.

            “But here is the rub for you, James. Without the spiritual, you have no means a justice beyond the grave.”

            Correct. We both agree on this.

            “Yet, you reject that the spiritual exists. More accurately, “you are very skeptical” that the spiritual world exists.”

            Which is why I believe that there is no such thing as absolute universal justice. Justice is a often unaccomplished human ideal.

            “No, not at all. Its a dilemma for people who reject God.”

            Which is why man created religion-to solve this dilemma.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>Is God not a part of the universe?

            No

          • James

            “>>Is God not a part of the universe?

            No”

            Then we are defining universe differently.

            “If there is only a material world, James, justice has no meaning. Justice in this worldview is nothing more than subjective personal opinion. There is no right or wrong, no good or evil.”

            Yes. I am not the slightest bit sentimental about this. But society cannot flourish without the ideas of fairness, right, and wrong. But the idea that what we see as right and wrong were given to mankind from on high is highly dubious.

            “One of the issues your have, James, is that your have accepted the presupposition that only the material world exists.”

            You have the burden of proof that more than the material world exists.

            “Were you around when the first religions came to be? If so, then please enlighten me. If not then your boasting about what you do not know.”

            Where did Greco-Roman paganism (Zeus and friends) come from, man or God? It’s a religion and far older than Christianity.

          • GPS Daddy

            Now your beginning to argue like a new atheist, James. I’m really disappointed in you. I thought you might be making progress.

            >>Then we are defining universe differently

            Yes we are. The universe is what is created by God. God is uncreated. While God works within the universe He stand apart from it. This goes back to your point of that the universe is inherently unjust. The universe is a physical thing without a soul. It does not reason, it does not think. It cannot be unjust. This is an important point for there are views that say differently.

            >>But society cannot flourish without the ideas of fairness, right, and wrong

            Again, James, fairness, right and wrong have no meaning in a materialistic worldview. They are gibberish words. You have you are “not the slightest bit sentimental” about there is no meaning in these things, yet, you steal from God to establish a foundation of right and wrong.

            Why does society need these things is they are not true? If good and evil, right and wrong are nothing but illusion then is not truth better than lies? Is it not better to let the truth be told than lie about some perceived morality?

            This is getting down to the core of your worldview, James. Your a used car salesman trying to sell a broken-down car at new car prices.

            >>You have the burden of proof that more than the material world exists.

            This is more meaningless rhetoric from the new atheist camp.

            >>Where did Greco-Roman paganism…

            Do you not know the bible, James? The Greco-Roman paganism (Zeus and friends) is a religion taught by daemons.

            Lastly, its very clear James that you will do any intellectual gymnastics to prevent from being tied down. This is a heart issues James. What your heart issues are I do not know. But it is a heart issue.

          • James

            “The universe is a physical thing without a soul. It does not reason, it does not think. It cannot be unjust.”

            I’m not going to quibble over definitions. I have no reason to believe there people are rewarded and punished for what they have done after death. I am aware of the troubling philosophical implications of this. Define that how you will.

            “Is it not better to let the truth be told than lie about some perceived morality?”

            Have you heard of Plato’s Noble Lie?

            How would you behave of there were not a supernatural judge watching you?

            “This is more meaningless rhetoric from the new atheist camp.”

            In other words, you can’t meet the burden of proof.

            “Do you not know the bible, James? The Greco-Roman paganism (Zeus and friends) is a religion taught by daemons.”

            You believe the Bible and that’s that.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>I’m not going to quibble over definitions

            Yup, the cry of the new atheist when they have been cornered. If your trapped then ignore the logic. The definitions is key to the logic so to dismiss an argument because your not going to debate definitions is a diversion tactic.

            >>Have you heard of Plato’s Noble Lie

            The lie, James, is being promoted by you. In the big picture all meaning, views of right and wrong, good and evil are nothing but illusion in your worldview. You don”t even have the philosophical foundation to criticize the bible without stealing from God. This is worse than a used car salesman selling junk at new car prices. Buyer beware for James will dupe you. But this comment points to yet another heart issue for you James. And it brings it into a little more light. You have a real issue with religion being used to control people. Thats come up from you a few times. Yes, that is an issue in all religions. Especially in non-Christian religions. But this is a separate discussion and likely a key discussion. Maybe Tom Gilson or other Stream editors can write about this. But in that your have rejected what is clear and true for lies. You now pedal in lies and deception. Every time you criticize another view you must steal from god to do so.

            >>In other words, you can’t meet the burden of proof.

            Yet more new atheist rhetoric and diversion tactics. The spiritual world existence is obvious. Just as there is a designer behind life. Its a properly basic belief that I have no burden of proof on. If your going to deny this then you have the burden of proof to show the following:

            1. Design can come without a designer.
            2. Life comes from non-life.
            3. Intelligence comes from non-intelligence.
            4. Personhood comes from non-personhood.

            If the spiritual world does not exists then these thing must be true.

            Ante up, James.

            >>You believe the Bible and that’s that

            I believe the bible because by it I see everything else for what it is. You accept views that are deceptions and lies.

          • James

            You have no idea what Plato’s Noble Lie is, do you? Google it.

            Yes, religion is a means of control. But that’s not entirely a bad thing. Getting rid of religion would be like trading the Tsar for the Bolsheviks. The Tsar was an incompetent despot, but the Bolsheviks were far worse.

            “The spiritual world existence is obvious.”

            Then it should be easy for you to prove it. Yet you refuse.

            “If your going to deny this then you have the burden of proof to show the following:

            1. Design can come without a designer.
            2. Life comes from non-life.
            3. Intelligence comes from non-intelligence.
            4. Personhood comes from non-personhood.

            If the spiritual world does not exists then these thing must be true.”

            I am not arguing any of these points, so I do not have to prove that which I am not arguing.

            You seem to have run out of canned apologetics and are resorting to straw men. You are more interested in converting me than in discussion, which is why you aren’t in the slightest interested in understanding my position or in engaging with me. You are getting frustrated that it isn’t working and you are calling names.

            You are fulfilling the worst stereotypes of Christians.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>What would you consider acceptable evidence for evolution

            Now your further diverting from the discussion, James. On one had you want to level serious accusations at the bible but when confronted you then peddle the idea that there is no good or evil, right or wrong. You retreat into new atheists arguments. When confronted on the ultimate meaning of those you then accuse me of “You are fulfilling the worst stereotypes of Christians:.

            If confronting you on heart issues means that I get accused on “You are fulfilling the worst stereotypes of Christians” then I will take that.

            But your still peddling a junk car at new car prices. You claim that humans needs the ideas of right/wrong and good/evil even though they are not real. Meaning gets totally lost on this. There can be no true meaning if there is not a spiritual, non-physical existence. Electrons, neutrons and protons know things of good/evil, right/wrong. If this is all that exists then any notion that we have of good/evil, right/wrong is an illusion and a lie.

            So for you to even criticize the bible you have to steal from God for your worldview does not support it.

          • James

            You still haven’t defined good or evil. Nor presented any evidence for a spiritual world.

            I’m waiting.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>Which is why man created religion-to solve this dilemma

            James, your really an atheist.

          • James

            It is more likely than not that the world was created by a greater power that is beyond our understanding. But it takes a great leap of faith (and logic) to get from there to the personal God of the Bible.

          • GPS Daddy

            Not at all, James. By just being observant your get to the Character of the God of the bible without referring to the bible in any way. The God of the bible has a very, vary unique character among the “gods” of the religions of the world.

            And, James, when pressed you fall back to purely atheistic arguments. You retreat into a purely materialistic worldview. At your core, your an atheist James.

          • James

            No, it’s not self-evident at all. Prove it.

            What I know is what is observable which is what you would call “materialistic”. Everything else is speculation. I do not deny the existence of God, but I cannot confirm it either.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>If heaven and hell were the ultimate human ends, why keep them so hidden?

            Good question, James. I do not have a good answer for that. But here are some points to think about:

            1. Death is a certain thing.
            2. Evil and good do exist.
            3. Man does not do justice to justice. Justice must be served.
            4. The longer you live the more it becomes apparent to anyone who is paying attention that no one is innocent.
            5. You have eternity planted in your heart, James. Why else are you hear on this site? What is that root heart issues that keeps you coming back to this site? You do not want to get into heart discussions but until you do you will just continue to bound off the walls of logic not making any sense of life.

          • James

            1. Absolutely true. This is one of the fundamental truths of human existence.
            2. Define evil and good.
            3. Justice (assuming for the sake of argument that we can agree on a definition of justice, see point 2) is frequently left undone. It is a human ideal that is frequently left unfinished. The world is inherently unjust. That’s life.
            4. All adults are culpably guilty of something. But there is a big difference between Adolph Hitler and Mother Teresa.
            5. I have no interest in maudlin emotionalism. If I wanted to believe what made me feel good, then I would still believe in Santa Claus. I would own multiple time-shares. When people try to appeal to my emotions, I take it as a sure sign that someone is trying to get me to stop thinking so that they can swindle me.

            Quite frankly, I find your appeals to “heart issues” to be patronizing and insulting.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>Define evil and good

            Really, James, are you that dense that you cannot defines these?

            >>The world is inherently unjust

            You have two positions with this:

            1. Abandon that justice is real.
            2. Acknowledge that there is a judge that all of us will give an account too.

            >>But there is a big difference between Adolph Hitler and Mother Teresa

            We have had this discussion before and you refuse to learn. From 30,000 feet the mountains are very flat.

            >>Quite frankly, I find your appeals to “heart issues” to be patronizing and insulting

            Then expect to be insulted by me, James. I’m not backing down from the heart issues because they are central to life. I’m going to continue to call our heart issues in your comments. I do not do this to make you made I do this because they are the reasons that you do not accept Christ.

            In fact, going to this level to say, “I find your appeals to “heart issues” to be patronizing and insulting” is a serious over recreation to me. I have no power over . If what I point out is not a heart issue then you should be able to just brush it off. You are not. This means I’m hitting home.

          • James

            “Really, James, are you that dense that you cannot defines these?”

            Yes, I am. Since this is so easy, then perhaps you can define them for me?

            “You have two positions with this:

            1. Abandon that justice is real.
            2. Acknowledge that there is a judge that all of us will give an account too.”

            You are absolutely right. If the universe is just, then there must be a judge that all of us will give account to.

            I do not, however, believe that the universe is just. Justice is a human ideal, not a necessary attribute of the universe. Assuming, for the sake for argument, we can agree on a precise definition of good and evil, many of good will still suffer horribly and many evil doers will die quietly in their beds.

            The inherent injustice of the universe is why ideas like judgment, heaven, and hell were invented. It is deeply troubling to know that evil doers often get away with it. So there must be another judge beyond the grave so that scores can be settled. But that it is useful does not make it true.

            Finally, why do you insist on making emotional appeals? An emotional appeal tells me that your reasoning is weak and you know it.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>Yes, I am. Since this is so easy, then perhaps you can define them for me?

            Nice try. What would be obviously evil that anyone should agree with that is not from the PC culture?

          • James

            Because people never disagreed on good or evil before “PC culture” was invented.

            You are the one who is asserting that good and evil are obvious. Surely you can specify WHAT is obvious?

      • swordfish

        Almost all people (and almost all animals) were so evil that it justified murdering them? Even babies and toddlers?

        • GLT

          God is incapable of murder. God is just in his nature and will judge his creation as he sees fit. We are the creature, God is the creator. Do you grasp the difference and the significance of that difference?

          • swordfish

            If you’ve created life (like having children) you’re responsible for it. That certainly doesn’t give you the right to murder it, other than in the sick Christian narrative. It’s just as well that it isn’t true.

          • Patrick

            You truly believe this explanation? I’d almost say that this alone invalidates everything you believe. How messed up. Such great defense of something so stupid and anti-human. Apologetics and justification at their finest.

          • GLT

            “You truly believe this explanation? I’d almost say that this alone invalidates everything you believe. How messed up.”

            What is really messed up, Patrick, is people who think they can judge God and his actions. If God exists, we are the result of his actions. He is the creator, we are his creation and as such we are wholly subject to his judgement, not he to ours. That, Patrick is the application of basic logic and common sense I mentioned earlier.

          • Patrick

            “That, Patrick is the application of basic logic and common sense I mentioned earlier.”

            I’d say this statement ends this “debate” (if we can call this that) for good, and not in your favor. You’re deluded. You speak under this guise of being so logical, but you’re anything but logical. You certainly haven’t applied true logic to many of your beliefs. It’s wishful thinking and confirmation bias masked as arrogant logic. Your responses are cop-outs. The true theist way of trying to justify a terrible argument or claim. I really can’t believe that you actually, truly think you’re applying basic logic and common sense. It’s anything but. Until you realize this, we’re done here.

          • GLT

            Patrick,

            “and not in your favor.”

            Funny how you are so quick to claim victory when you never provided any evidence at all to support your position, not one single piece, it was just pure rhetoric.

            You never answered any of the questions I asked you. So ask yourself, Patrick, on what basis do you think you came out on top when you provided no evidence at all and failed to answer every question put to you?

            “It’s wishful thinking and confirmation bias masked as arrogant logic.”

            And yet you provide no examples of my supposed errors of logic.

            I’m not trying to accomplish anything beyond getting you to look objectively at what you believe to be true. I completely understand how you are thinking as I used to think exactly like you do now. It was only after I put in the effort; and it does take a great amount of effort as no one wishes to see their firmly held beliefs challenged; to look at my beliefs objectively that I started to see the inherent problems with what I was believing so firmly to be true. I began to see its illogical nature and how it was so counter to basic common sense. It took a long time but I eventually reached the point where I could no longer deny the evidence. I believe you to be an intelligent person and believe you would reach the same conclusions if you put in the effort. But as I said it is hard and you have to be willing to work at it.

            Even if you feel you do not want to respond anymore, do me a favour and investigate the question I asked you in regards to homology and its role as evidence for evolution. If you do it honestly and objectively you will be surprised what you will find when you investigate homology as it relates to genetics. Understanding what has been uncovered in the last few years in this relationship will without a shadow of a doubt raise questions in your mind about your adherence to evolutionary thought. Please, at least be willing to do that.

            Take care and God bless.

          • Patrick

            You also haven’t really answered my questions or provided evidence for your claims, so I don’t think you’re any better off here. I can’t stand people like you. It’s this sort of smugness, arrogance, conceit that you don’t even acknowledge (or maybe even realize). This place of highness or superiority. You seem so collected and deliberate but it’s a distraction. You seem to reject the notion that you might be wrong about something, or that you could have very flawed logic on the simple basis of your (incorrect) assumptions. You make me think of the Jesuits – supposedly very intelligent yet don’t apply rational thought objectively to their own beliefs.

            “I’m not trying to accomplish anything beyond getting you to look objectively at what you believe to be true.”

            No, you’re trying to get me to agree with your far-fetched ideas with your pseudo-logic.

            “I completely understand how you are thinking as I used to think exactly like you do now.”

            I doubt it. Even if so, you’ve since caved into nonsense and chosen the wrong path.

            Religion will always be more illogical than atheism. The fact that “it does take a great amount of effort” should indicate that atheism is the simpler and better explanation of our reality than your narrow set of beliefs. Yes, I’m intelligent, and no, I won’t cave into fallacies and poor attempts at logic to reach the same conclusion you have.

            With our current understanding of our world, I don’t see myself ever considering homology as in support of intelligent design or creationism, which you seem to be saying. Although I’m willing to concede that Darwinian evolution might not be completely correct, we’ll keep on learning through science while you’ll keep pretending to study science and pretending to keep an open mind while really only following it so you can fit it to your closed-minded beliefs. Oh, the hubris. Wherever my future studies of homology might take me, I’m sure that some version/variation of evolution will always make far more logical sense than whatever you’re peddling. You’ve taken illogical leaps, and you seem to refuse to admit that this is even possible – or at least ignore it every time I bring it up.

            You know what “God bless” means to a nonbeliever. “Thanks” for this arrogance.

          • GLT

            “The fact that “it does take a great amount of effort”,…”

            It takes a great amount of effort to change adherence from what you firmly believe to be true to that which you have always believed to be untrue, it is irrelevant as to which direction that change involves.

            “I won’t cave into fallacies and poor attempts at logic to reach the same conclusion you have.”

            But the truth is, Patrick, in all the time we have been involved in this exchange you have never once demonstrated how my arguments were fallacious or how my logic was poor. The whole time you have provided nothing more than rhetoric and dodged every question put to you. You still have not told me what the word faith means, for example. That is a pretty easy question, yet you have never answered it. Why?

            “With our current understanding of our world, I don’t see myself ever considering homology as in support of intelligent design or creationism, which you seem to be saying.”

            That is, in part at least, my point, Patrick. You’re present understanding of the world is not actually the present understanding of the world. Much of the homology argument for evolution has eroded a great deal with the advancements in genetics. That is why I asked you to look into the arguments involving homology with an objective mind. The recent research in genetics has shown the homology argument does not support the evolutionary narrative. Please, do the research.

            “I’m sure that some version/variation of evolution will always make far more logical sense than whatever you’re peddling.”

            Do the work and you will find that is not the case, not any longer.

            “You’ve taken illogical leaps,…”

            So you have said repeatedly. However, you have yet to demonstrate how I am taking illogical leaps or even pointed out my supposed illogical leaps. Why is that, Patrick? If they are so obvious surely you could demonstrate that fact.

            “You know what “God bless” means to a nonbeliever. “Thanks” for this arrogance.”

            Apparently I do not. I have friends who think like you and have never felt insulted when I say ‘God bless’ or tell them I will pray for them. Most people appreciate the sentiment of wishing them the best which goes along with those words. I suspect your apparent offence is due to some deep rooted anger that you should deal with. It is not normal for someone to be angered or insulted when someone sincerely wishes the best for them. Please think about that as well.

          • Patrick

            I stand by my statement that if it takes this great effort, it’s not worth changing my views based on this alone. Give me proper evidence instead, and it should be easy to change. Also, it’s hard not to see this as hypocritical. Despite your appearance of logic and reason, you’ve made up your mind and only argue for one position.

            I’ve hinted at your fallacious arguments and poor attempts at logic. I don’t think you’ll ever make an honest effort to see it, though. I don’t have to elaborate. Look within yourself.

            Stop being dishonest. I’ve answered some of your questions, and responded to others. You just don’t like the way I’ve responded. I see some of them as pointless or moot distractions, and of course I’m free to pick and choose what to respond to here.

            Further, two of my lengthy response comments were “detected as spam” somehow. I wasn’t notified of this, and only noticed when I viewed my disqus account. I’ve tried re-posting them after marking them as not spam. One of them addresses the notion of faith quite clearly (mainly that nearly every definition of the word includes a component of against/without evidence).

            Again regarding homology, even if it doesn’t support the current understanding of evolution, it’s such an incredulous leap to suggest that intelligent design and/or creationism better explains it. Again, it’s probably a variation of evolution that best explains what’s observed.

            I think the key word within your comments is “sincerely.” I don’t know you. Generally when a theist says “God bless” to an atheist, it’s intentionally insincere. The fact that you know I don’t even believe in your god makes it disrespectful, really. You must know this, unless you’re unintelligent. Please don’t be obtuse. This is obvious. It smacks of superiority, especially given that I don’t have any clue if you actually mean to wish me well. I don’t have deep rooted anger that’s an issue here.

            If you really mean to genuinely wish me well while respecting my position, you’d choose different words. “God bless” to an atheist is a passive-aggressive conversation-ender. You can’t really be so naive to think otherwise.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    “For although they knew in their hearts that God does not exist, they worshiped him anyway, always thanking him, but never blaming him for anything. But they became futile in all their ways, as they closed their minds to the light. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged reason for delusion and deception. They had created God in their own image, half saint and half bully, and pushed their creation on others.” (Reason 1:1)

    • GPS Daddy

      I see some serious bitterness here towards Christians and the church. Care to share? Being a public place I’d understand if you do not.

      • Gary Whittenberger

        My feelings are irrelevant, but if you’d like to discuss the ideas in may statement, pick out one for focus.

        • GPS Daddy

          If you think feeling are irrelevant when you clearly are demonstrating serious bitterness towards God and the church then our discussion will be fruitless. For until those issues are dealt with logic and reasoning takes a back seat.

          I hope you have a nice life.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            My feelings are irrelevant to the claims I made in the statement. The feelings of the writer of the cited Romans verses are also irrelevant. Deal with the substantive claims I made in the statement or with the claims made by the author of the original article!

            Logic and reason should always take a front seat. If you are unable to put them in the front seat, then you are correct — our discussion would be fruitless. If/when you become ready to do that, then come back and let’s have a civil discussion.

          • GPS Daddy

            If you will come clean with your bitterness then I will deal with your logic. Until then there is no point. Your bitterness drives your logic.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            First, you say “Care to share? Being a public place I’d understand if you do not.” Then you say “If you will come clean with your bitterness then I will deal with your logic.” Do you see the hypocrisy there? I’ve made it clear to you that I am not going to discuss my feelings here, but you keep pushing.

            Now, if you want to discuss any particular idea which I have stated, focus on one.

          • GPS Daddy

            >> Do you see the hypocrisy there

            No, no hypocrisy here, Gary. If you do not want to share then you do not have too. But you continue the attack as if the bitterness in your heart has no consequence here. It does. So since your going to continue the attack then I will continue to drive at the root of the issue: The things that gave rise to the bitterness in your heart. And make no mistake, Gary, your bitterness shouts through like a trumpet.

            Now if you want to continue the discussion then you need to come clean otherwise be on your way. For there is no reasoning with a person who will not deal with the bitterness in their hearts.

          • Gary Whittenberger

            GW1: Do you see the hypocrisy there?

            GPS2: No, no hypocrisy here, Gary.

            GW2: Yes, hypocrisy here for all to see. You first indicate your acceptance if I don’t discuss my feelings and then you indicate nonacceptance of that. Hypocrisy — very clear.

            GPS2: If you do not want to share then you do not have too. But you continue the attack as if the bitterness in your heart has no consequence here. It does.

            GW2: See, there you go again — speaking about emotions which you assume I have. That is out of bounds since I’ve already told you that discussion of our emotions is off the table. But you keep pushing. You are now harassing me about my emotions.

            GPS2: So since your going to continue the attack then I will continue to drive at the root of the issue: The things that gave rise to the bitterness in your heart. And make no mistake, Gary, your bitterness shouts through like a trumpet.

            GW2: There you go again! You have been hypocritical, harassing, and also uncivil (having made one ad hominem attack already).

            GPS2: Now if you want to continue the discussion then you need to come clean otherwise be on your way. For there is no reasoning with a person who will not deal with the bitterness in their hearts.

            GW2: Now that you have “spoiled the well,” I don’t see much point in having a discussion with you. If you’d like to civilly and rationally discuss any of the claims I made, then focus on one.

          • GPS Daddy

            Your bitterness, Gary, shouting through.
            Why are you sooo bitter?

  • Patrick

    I honestly feel that this article is an ignorant, intentional mis-characterization of both atheists and humanists. I say this as someone who identifies as both and knows many other people who also identify as one or both.

    First, regarding the section starting “I expect secular humanists would say” – why not find out what secular humanists ACTUALLY say instead? We have far more useful and valid criticisms of Christians such as yourself – and all other theists – than what you’ve speculated here.

    One of your main arguments hinges on the words of two leaders of the movement(s), but this is quite the uneducated over-simplification of our human/animal brains and thought processes, which are quite well understood. Despite these words, atheism does not mean that we can’t think. I see this as a distraction though, so let’s move on.

    Nagel’s words that you’ve quoted are irrelevant. It’s the personal opinion of one philosopher (out of many – most of whom are probably atheist). Even suggesting that the words you’ve cherry-picked from two men “speak for all humanists or all atheists” is ludicrous. I’m telling you otherwise. Regardless, you’ve oversimplified them here to fit your agenda. Who are you to judge the soundness of their arguments anyway, especially considering the flaws in your own narrow, far-fetched, and glaringly self-serving arguments presented here?

    • GLT

      “why not find out what secular humanists ACTUALLY say instead?”

      Well then, what have you got to say? What are your more valid and useful criticisms of Christians?

      • Patrick

        First, we generally wouldn’t refer to Christians as “sinners” or “worms” since we don’t really believe in sin, per se. He even took this from a hymn – not really choice material for any atheist to refer to.

        Hmm… Although now that I’m re-reading it, maybe I do agree with most of what he said after all.

        Perhaps my greater point is that there are many other reasons to criticize Christians (all theists, really) and their beliefs. There are nearly infinite valid and useful criticisms, but I really don’t want to digress so far in this thread. Countless words have been written on the topic. I’d suggest that you read any number of books written by atheists, secularists, and humanists – with an open mind. Or even a simple Internet search, to be honest. Wikipedia is far from perfect, but it’s a starting point as well. I’m not going to do this work for you here. If you’re curious and intellectually honest enough, you can do this on your own. I wish you the best.

        • GPS Daddy

          Patrick, atheism is so easily falsified.

          Design always comes from a designer.
          Life is designed.

          What we observe in this life is:

          1. Life always comes from life. Always
          2. Intelligence always comes from intelligence. Always.
          3. Personhood always comes from personhood. Always.

          This designer behind life must be a living, intelligence being who has personhood.
          Since we know that the universe is fine tuned for life and that it has a beginning, then this living, intelligent and personal being cannot exist within the time-space continuum. For if this being did exist within the time-space continuum then this being would not be the being who designed life.

          Hence, this being must be the prime mover of the universe who is a living, intelligent and personal being.

          • swordfish

            (Patrick, please excuse me for butting in.)

            “atheism is so easily falsified. Design always comes from a designer. Life is designed.”

            This was falsified 159 years ago when On the Origin of Species was published.

          • GPS Daddy

            Darwinian Evolution is actually a religion. Its not science nor will it ever be. The number of scientists that are abandoning this false religion is continuing to grow. In fact, there are other parts of the world, like Brazil, that are rejecting Darwinian Evolution and embracing Intelligent Design.

            So you can cling to your religion views, swordfish, but its being exposed for what it is: a fraud.

            Now, of course, your going to object to me calling it a religion. So lets deal with that now.
            Lets first define terms: Evolution is used in two ways. The first is clearly seen in nature and that is change within a species. This has been know for eons. Its not new and predates Darwin. Darwin introduced the idea that this change that is observed extends to one species changing into a different species. This is that part that is a religious view. There is no scientific evidence that shows this to be true. All of the scientific evidence that is offered up for this makes one of two fallacies:

            The first is that Darwinian Evolution is assumed to be true and and a “story” is created to describe the claimed “evidence”. The most clearest example of this is the fossil record. To line up fossils showing how one species has “evolved” into another assume that this is true. This is circular reasoning at its worst.

            The second fallacy that is made is that of equivocation. We observe change within a species and is then extended to explain how one species can evolve into another. To equate the two is a false equivalency.

            So, how then is this a religion? Simple: Darwinian Evolution makes claims to how life is and how life got here. These claims prepossess a process that has never been observed. Faith is put into these processes that they will one-day explain all of life. From this basis other life issues are addressed. For example, Karl Marx has said that “this [Darwin’s Origin of Species ] is the book which in the field of natural history, provides the basis for our views”. Adolf Hitler used the “survival of the fittest” as a basis for his views on the human race and excusing what he did.

            Now you may object to these example but here is the run for you Darwinist: You have no foundation for objective moral truths. You have admitted this MANY times on The Stream comments, swordfish. Its just your subjective opinion. This means that Hitler and Marx’s subjective opinions are just as valid.

            This makes Darwinian Evolution a worldview that must be accepted blindly without evidence by which every Darwinist puts this faith in. Hence, its a religion.

          • swordfish

            Pretty much the only thing I agree with is your definition of religion as “a worldview that must be accepted blindly without evidence”, but let’s stick to the point:

            Please provide a reason why small changes cannot accumulate over time into large changes.

          • GPS Daddy

            Yea, you caught me on that one. I’ve updated the post to correctly reflect my thinking. Now lets do stick to the point, swordfish. It is not about small changes. You have never made that point in this thread. So you cannot accuse me of not sticking to it.

            If your going to deny that this is not a religious view then you need to prove the following:

            1. That life comes from non-life.
            2. Intelligence comes from non-intelligence.
            3. Personhood comes from non-personhoood.

            I await your evidence.

          • Patrick

            Your approach is all wrong here. Our scientific view of evolution by natural selection is based on and supported by evidence. Yours is not. I’m sure some day it will be proved that life comes from non-life, intelligence from non-intelligence, and personhood from non-personhood. This seems much more likely than your view. Your views will never be proven. I guarantee it. They might be replaced with slightly different ones, but they’re all made-up. They’re not rooted in reality like ours are.

            The number of scientists “that are abandoning this false religion” is not growing. Even if it did, it’s probably because we have a newer, better understanding and explanation for these phenomena. It’s the beauty of the scientific method and true inquiry. Your views are so outdated and stubbornly refuse to change despite massive amounts of new information about our world and how we understand it. See the difference?

            You act as though our whole view is nullified because there are unanswered questions, but our view still explains the world far better than yours. Again – it’s the beauty of the process. We’ll continue to learn more while you do absolutely nothing and hold us back. It’s sad.

            Look up the definition of a religion. Darwinian evolution does not fit it. Nice try. You theists love to try to say atheism and the likes are religions. They’re not. Our “faith” is not blind – yours is. Ours is better. The end.

          • GLT

            “Our scientific view of evolution by natural selection is based on and supported by evidence.”

            You spend a lot of time using the term evidence and no time at all presenting any. Why is that, Patrick?

          • swordfish

            Possibly because the evidence has already been presented in the scientific literature. It’s all there, if you’d care to take a look at it. Your ignorance of it isn’t a defence.

          • Patrick

            It’s quite simple. It’s not my area of expertise, nor my job or duty. Others have already done it, far better than I can. You’ve obviously closed your mind to it. I really don’t care if you’ve chosen to reject something that has been repeatedly proven true. You’re not this elite scholar or expert that you’re trying to make yourself out to be, either. Clearly. I’m more into science advocacy/communication than the hard science – among other things. I’m not claiming to be an expert, so there’s really no point in attacking my credentials. Stick to the topics being discussed.

          • GLT

            The number of Darwinian evolutionists questioning the paradigm most certainly is growing as demonstrated by the meeting of the Royal Society in November of 2016 entitled New Trends in Evolutionary Biology. The sole purpose of the meeting was to address the growing evidence against the standard model.

            I’m curious, have you read anything published in the last 20 years?

            “We’ll continue to learn more while you do absolutely nothing and hold us back.”

            Yeah, it was the religious people who said our DNA was 95% junk and not worthy of any attention or study. It was the religious people who labaled organs as vestigial because they did not understand their purpose. Yeah, Patrick, evolution has worked so hard to overcome those religious people holding them back. You guys should hear yourselves, it is truly funny listening to you spout your mindless rhetoric while having no comprehension at all as to the real situation unfolding all around you.

            Tell me Patrick, how does homology lend evidence to evolution?

            “Our “faith” is not blind,…”

            What does the word faith mean, Patrick?

          • Patrick

            I’m somewhat curious about why you’re oh so invested in following science if you clearly ignore it so readily. The scientific method essentially requires changing our understanding of the world based on new information. Religion does nearly the opposite of this.

            I have read plenty of papers published in the last 20 years. I don’t think you’re this great scholar that you’re trying to make yourself out to be. I think you probably only read anything scientific not to be open-minded, but because you’ve already made up your mind but love trying to figure out how you can twist something to fit your already narrow view.

            I’m not an evolutionary biologist or scientist (nor are you) but a very basic Internet search makes it clear that evolutionary theory predicts homology. Try again.

            I had “faith” in quotes for a reason. Really you chose this word poorly to begin with. Smacks of intellectual dishonesty. You know full well that there isn’t “faith” involved with the claims of Darwinian evolution. Not anywhere near the same as the blind, dogmatic religious faith that you clearly suffer from and which taints every reply of yours here.

          • GLT

            “The scientific method essentially requires changing our understanding of the world based on new information. Religion does nearly the opposite of this.”

            Nonsense, the modern scientific method exists due to the work of religious men, most specifically Christians. Newton, Kepler, Galileo, Copernicus, Bacon, etc., etc. These are the men who developed the scientific method in order to understand God’s creation. Kepler stated that in doing his research he was thinking God’s thought after him. It is a good idea to be aware of history as well. Your appeal to the scientific method is an appeal to a religious outlook towards the world and to the acquirement of knowledge and understanding. Pretty ironic, don’t you think?

            “I have read plenty of papers published in the last 20 years.”

            If that is true why would you make an appeal to junk DNA as evidence for evolution? It has been at least 20 years since that gem was discarded along with the vestigial organ nonsense.

            “I don’t think you’re this great scholar that you’re trying to make yourself out to be.”

            No, I am not a scientific scholar, not even close and never pretended to be. However, one does not need to be a scholar to understand and apply basic logic and common sense and really that is all that is being applied here. One also does not need to be a scholar to keep in tune with the knowledge which science is uncovering day by day. All it takes is a little logic and a little reading. But the reading also requires you to venture outside of your comfort zone which means you can’t simply rely on youtube videos and rhetoric infested atheist web sites for your information.

            “I think you probably only read anything scientific not to be open-minded, but because you’ve already made up your mind but love trying to figure out how you can twist something to fit your already narrow view.”

            Well, you’re free to think what you like, however, you are also, in this particular case, completely wrong in doing so. The fact is I used to be on your side of the equation, it was from reading and studying the subjects involved that I came to change my mind. In case you’re wondering that gives me a great advantage in that I understand both sides very well having been dedicated to both at one time. My guess is that situation does not apply in your case. Please correct me if I am wrong.

            “but a very basic Internet search makes it clear that evolutionary theory predicts homology.”

            Of course it does, I never said or implied otherwise. But that is not what I asked you. I asked you to tell me how homology lends evidence to evolution? Do you wish to try again?

            By the way, just to keep you up to date and properly informed, design scenarios also predict homology, as do creationist scenarios.

            “You know full well that there isn’t “faith” involved with the claims of Darwinian evolution.”

            Well, yes there is, lots of it. But again that is not what I asked you. Do you make a habit of misunderstanding questions that are directed to you?

            “Not anywhere near the same as the blind, dogmatic religious faith that you clearly suffer from and which taints every reply of yours here.”

            I don’t have blind faith, not in the slightest. In fact, my faith is just the opposite of blind faith. Now back to the question which you again have failed to answer. What does the word faith mean, Patrick?

          • Patrick

            Regardless of the history of various individuals who have contributed (in misguided ways) to a better understanding of our world, religion thrives on blind belief, childhood indoctrination before critical thinking is developed, and stubborn resistance to change. Since you brought up history, though, it’s very important to note that some of those scientists were shunned (or worse) by their church who wildly disagreed with them. I’d say it’s likely that if the church didn’t have so much power and control over some of them and their societies, it’s quite conceivable that some of the same people you named would be atheist.

            Also regardless of how the scientific method might have been developed (again, misguided – especially with the inherent confirmation bias), we now see every day that it’s a superior method of understanding our world when it’s removed from its somewhat religious roots. I don’t think this is ironic. It’s a poor attempt at arguing for religion, especially since the same people who developed the basics of the scientific method also perverted it or didn’t apply it to all claims.

            Please stop your claims of using logic and common sense. You’re not. At least not consistently. Some of your statements in this forum are completely illogical and demonstrate no common sense. I actually don’t watch youtube videos, nor do I consult “rhetoric infested atheist web sites” at all. I simply exercise free thought, with which you seem to struggle.

            “In case you’re wondering that gives me a great advantage in that I understand both sides very well having been dedicated to both at one time.”

            The problem with this is that you obviously didn’t ACTUALLY understand atheism, or else you’d readily embrace it over your very narrow-minded theology. Even further, why do you subscribe to your particular version of Christianity (out of its hundreds of versions) over the other major world religions? Surely it’s conceivable – and likely – that there are others who are as headstrong as you who’ve reached the same stubborn conclusions about their own completely different religions. So who’s right? As a Christian I’m sure you know that they’re mutually exclusive (despite the terrible efforts I’ve seen to reconcile this). This may seem like a very basic atheist argument to you, but I’ve yet to hear a satisfactory response. What’s yours? Why are you so sure about your religion but not the others that are practiced by billions of humans? Did you study theirs as rigorously? Surely it’s because of how/when/where you grew up, correct?

            You do show the signs of blind, stubborn faith. You can pretend (or delude yourself) that you’re showing logic and common sense, but you’re not. Almost all definitions of “faith” include a component of belief without/against evidence. I consider this “blind” across the board. Surely you can’t disagree with this. You can try to pervert “faith” to mean something different, but such attempts fall flat.

            What do you say faith means?

          • Patrick

            Regardless of the history of various individuals who have contributed (in misguided ways) to a better understanding of our world, religion thrives on blind belief, childhood indoctrination before critical thinking is developed, and stubborn resistance to change. Since you brought up history, though, it’s very important to note that some of those scientists were shunned (or worse) by their church who wildly disagreed with them. I’d say it’s likely that if the church didn’t have so much power and control over some of them and their societies, it’s quite conceivable that some of the same people you named would be atheist.

            Also regardless of how the scientific method might have been developed (again, misguided – especially with the inherent confirmation bias), we now see every day that it’s a superior method of understanding our world when it’s removed from its somewhat religious roots. I don’t think this is ironic. It’s a poor attempt at arguing for religion, especially since the same people who developed the basics of the scientific method also perverted it or didn’t apply it to all claims.

            Please stop your claims of using logic and common sense. You’re not. At least not consistently. Some of your statements in this forum are completely illogical and demonstrate no common sense. I actually don’t watch youtube videos, nor do I consult “rhetoric infested atheist web sites” at all. I simply exercise free thought, with which you seem to struggle.

            “In case you’re wondering that gives me a great advantage in that I understand both sides very well having been dedicated to both at one time.”

            The problem with this is that you obviously didn’t ACTUALLY understand atheism, or else you’d readily embrace it over your very narrow-minded theology. Even further, why do you subscribe to your particular version of Christianity (out of its hundreds of versions) over the other major world religions? Surely it’s conceivable – and likely – that there are others who are as headstrong as you who’ve reached the same stubborn conclusions about their own completely different religions. So who’s right? As a Christian I’m sure you know that they’re mutually exclusive (despite the terrible efforts I’ve seen to reconcile this). This may seem like a very basic atheist argument to you, but I’ve yet to hear a satisfactory response. What’s yours? Why are you so sure about your religion but not the others that are practiced by billions of humans? Did you study theirs as rigorously? Surely it’s because of how/when/where you grew up, correct?

            You do show the signs of blind, stubborn faith. You can pretend (or delude yourself) that you’re showing logic and common sense, but you’re not. Almost all definitions of “faith” include a component of belief without/against evidence. I consider this “blind” across the board. Surely you can’t disagree with this. You can try to pervert “faith” to mean something different, but such attempts fall flat.

            What do you say faith means?

          • swordfish

            “If your going to deny that this is not a religious view then you need to prove the following:”

            I can deny your claim on the grounds that you haven’t provided any evidence to support it, but if you want me to do the work for you, I’ll just note that evolution doesn’t invoke a supernatural deity.

            “It is not about small changes.”

            Sorry, but it is. You admit that small changes are possible but deny large changes. Large changes are just lots of accumulated small changes! Suppose a group of animals becomes split by the formation of an island – perhaps a land bridge joing the island to the mainland is washed away in a storm. What is to stop small changes in both populations causing them to diverge until they become distinct species?

          • GLT

            “What is to stop small changes in both populations causing them to diverge until they become distinct species?”

            Distinct species does not imply evolution unless you have first assumed evolution. If you wish to have any evidence for evolution you must present an example of A becoming non-A. This you cannot do and until you can evolution is just a string of just-so stories and not in any form empirical science.

          • swordfish

            I asked: what would stop evolution happening? GPS Daddy didn’t answer, and you didn’t either.

          • GPS Daddy

            No, its really not about small changes, swordfish. But you make keep your delusion.

          • GLT

            “Please provide a reason why small changes cannot accumulate over time into large changes.”

            Observation and demonstrable evidence. Ask any breeder of animals, there is a limit to what changes can be wrought in any given type of creature. The evidence is there in spades, you just have to be willing to look at it and accept it for what it demonstrates.

          • Patrick

            No excuse needed. Thanks for joining in. That’s the beauty of the Internet.

          • GLT

            “This was falsified 159 years ago when On the Origin of Species was published.”

            Really, how did the Origin of Species accomplish that, specifically?

          • swordfish

            By providing a viable naturalistic explanation for apparent design in living things. Such an explanation is preferable to “god dunnit” because:

            a) It doesn’t require the existence of the supernatural.

            b) It makes testable predictions.

          • GLT

            “By providing a viable naturalistic explanation for apparent design in living things.”

            It was thought to be a viable explanation by some a the time and many over the years since its publication. But the plain truth is it has been shown over the last 25 years to be anything but viable. Everything it proposes in terms of random mutations and natural selection being the mechanism which drove the development of all living organisms from one single common ancestor has proven to be incorrect.

            “It makes testable predictions.”

            So does the design theory and you insist that is unscientific. Why is that?

          • swordfish

            You’re talking complete nonsense. Evolutionary biology contines to forge ahead, while the “design movement” AKA “Intelligent Design” has died a near total death. ID is just religious creationism in a thin disguise and this has even been established in the courts.

            What ‘testable predictions’ has ID ever made?

          • GLT

            “Evolutionary biology contines to forge ahead,…”

            Sure it does, it is not a short process when it comes to changing a paradigm in scientific thought but changing it is. Only the truly delusional are denying that fact. A fine example of the change is the meeting held by The Royal Society in November of 2016, the sole purpose of which was to discuss how and with what Neo-Darwinism would be replaced.

            Also, it would be wise to remember the terms biology and evolutionary biology are not synonymous. Biological research can and is carried out without giving even a passing thought to evolution.

            As for the design scenario being near total death, nothing could be further from the truth. Seriously, you’re just whistling past the graveyard with that statement.

            “What ‘testable predictions’ has ID ever made?”

            Google it and you will find out. However, it will require you to have an open mind.

          • swordfish

            I googled “intelligent design predictions” and the first site had the following list of predictions (with comments added by myself):

            1) that we will find specified complexity in biology. One special easily detectable form of specified complexity is irreducible complexity.

            Irreducible complexity is plain nonsense. There isn’t a single example of such a thing which stands up to scrutiny. Eyes are a good example.

            2) rapid appearance of complexity in the fossil record.

            This so-called ‘rapid’ appearance is still actually over millions of years, so: fail.

            3) re-usage of similar parts in different systems (i.e., different types of organisms).

            You would expect different organisms to re-invent the wheel – there are only so many ways that flight is possible, for example, so this is something natural selection would also predict. Fail.

            4) function for biological structures.

            Again, this is also a prediction of natural selection. But it’s also misleading, in the sense that: half a leg is still more use than no leg. Fail.

            So I don’t see anything interesting there. I’m sorry, but the whole idea that the natural world is designed is just idiotic. If you disagree, please explain male nipples, cancer, or birth defects?

          • GLT

            “Again, this is also a prediction of natural selection.”

            Your comment was that intelligent design made no testable predictions and you have discovered that to be untrue. That clearly indicates you were making claims based on a lack of research and a lack of knowledge. Consider what other beliefs you may hold which also are based on a lack of knowledge and a lack of actual investigation into those beliefs.

            “If you disagree, please explain male nipples, cancer, or birth defects?”

            A fallen world.

          • swordfish

            “Your comment was that intelligent design made no testable predictions and you have discovered that to be untrue.”

            A prediction that is the same as that made by natural selection can’t be tested to provide evidence for ID.

            [If you disagree, please explain male nipples, cancer, or birth defects?]

            A fallen world.!

            LOL. So, in the garden of eden, Adam had no nipples?

          • GLT

            “A prediction that is the same as that made by natural selection can’t be tested to provide evidence for ID.”

            Yes, it can. The evidence is the same for both sides of the equation, it’s the explanation of what the evidence indicates which changes. That is simply the nature of evidence.

            “LOL. So, in the garden of eden, Adam had no nipples?”

            Who knows and who cares? I was referring to cancer and birth defects.

          • swordfish

            “The evidence is the same for both sides of the equation,”

            This isn’t true because there are all sorts of things which natural selection explains which ID doesn’t – with cancer being one obvious example. Natural selection is inherently flawed but ID has no excuse!

            But anyway, if you have two competing explanations for the same set of facts, it’s sensible to employ occam’s razor and go for the one with the fewest assumptions. In this case, that would be natural selection, as ID requires a supernatural being for which there’s also no evidence.

          • GLT

            “This isn’t true because there are all sorts of things which natural selection explains which ID doesn’t,…”

            That does not affect the existence of the evidence, only your view of the explanation. You believe evolution offers an explanation and reject the explanation offered by design proponents.

            “it’s sensible to employ occam’s razor and go for the one with the fewest assumptions.”

            Natural selections is, by its very nature, full of assumptions.

          • GLT

            “Irreducible complexity is plain nonsense. There isn’t a single example of such a thing which stands up to scrutiny. Eyes are a good example.”

            Explain how the eye could evolve in slight increments?

            “You would expect different organisms to re-invent the wheel,…”

            Based on what reasoning?

          • swordfish

            “Explain how the eye could evolve in slight increments?”

            (You could google this and get a better answer than I can outline, but…)

            Basically, even a single light-sensitive cell would be useful to an organism by allowing it to tell night from day. A cluster of cells would allow for the formation of a rudimentary image. A cluster of cells in a pit would allow the organism to sense the direction from which the light is coming. The more closed the pit, the more it functions as a pinhole camera. Any kind of transparent/translucent covering allows the light to focus better, and so on.

            [You would expect different organisms to re-invent the wheel,..]

            “Based on what reasoning?”

            Based on common sense. Being able to fly is obviously useful to escape predators, for example. The only ways an animal can do this is gliding with stretched skin between limbs (like a flying fox) or flapping wings (like a bird), so these two solutions have appeared numerous times. There were flying dinosaurs, and there are flying insects, flying mammals, and even flying fish 🙂

          • GLT

            “Basically, even a single light-sensitive cell would be useful to an organism by allowing it to tell night from day.”

            You’re already in very deep trouble as a light-sensitive cell is not a simple thing. How about you back up a whole bunch and explain the origin of this light-sensitive cell.

            “Based on common sense. Being able to fly is obviously useful to escape predators, for example.”

            Having the ability to fly does not arise via common sense. Want to start again?

          • Patrick

            Oh boy. Where to start with this one? Simply, no. You’re wrong. This attempt at logic is flawed and therefore fails terribly. Your argument is so basic and easily proven wrong. It seems like you either didn’t get a proper science education, you did but ignored it, or you’re trolling.

            First off, any object designed by humans requires a designer. As for humans ourselves, there’s no good proof that we were designed by any being. In fact, evolution by natural selection far better explains how we’ve developed than anything you’re suggesting. Let’s entertain a thought exercise anyway, though! What if we were designed by a being? What horrendous design! We’re very flawed, incredibly imperfect, not efficient or effective at many things, and we have SO much extra DNA that’s essentially useless (which actually proves evolution).

            All three of your observations about life are false. In our everyday human experience they might be overwhelmingly accurate, but there was clearly some point in the past in which non-life led to life, non-intelligence led to intelligence, and non-people led to people. Again, simple science.

            The universe is fine tuned for life? Are you kidding me? The nearly unimaginable majority of the immense, vast universe is so inhospitable to humans (and pretty much any other life) that we can’t survive for seconds in it. What type of intelligent design is this? It’s not.

            Truthfully I could go on and on and even further rip apart and dismantle nearly everything you’ve said, but I’ll stop here for now. I suggest that you honestly attempt to understand basic science with an open mind, and not rely so much on your nonsense with its incredibly flawed (and laughable) arguments. Try again!

          • GLT

            we have SO much extra DNA that’s essentially useless (which actually proves evolution).”

            Have you read anything about DNA published in the last 20 years? It would seem not if you are still trying to flog the junk DNA argument.

          • GPS Daddy

            You’ve not dismantled anything I’ve written, Patrick. You have only fooled yourself.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>This is easy. Not really worth any more time.

            Hmm, I thought this discussion was not worth anymore of your time. Got you to respond now didn’t I?

            So if I am so wrong on what we observe, then you should be able to provide me with evidence that:

            1. Design does not need a designer.
            2. Life can come from non-life.
            3. Intelligence can come from non-intelligence.
            4. Personhood can come from non-personhood.

            I await your evidence.

          • Patrick

            I initially posted the comment starting “Oh boy” before my “Quite simply……Not really worth any more time” comment, but it was pending moderator approval for some reason. I noticed this a couple of days later, then changed some of my wording about humans not surviving in the universe and re-posted it (after my “Quite simply” comment which didn’t have any problems). So they’re out of order.

            Regardless, you’re the one who made the bold claims. This burden of proof is on you, and you haven’t yet demonstrated it. It’s easy for you to just say that we always observe these phenomena all the time, but it’s intentionally oversimplified and short-sighted at best. You can’t really think this, can you? It’s so far-fetched. The simpler explanation is mine. Again, my expertise is not in this evidence, but many others have presented it and it’s easy for you to access – right in front of you. You willfully ignore it because you’re closed-minded and have made up your mind to believe these narrow, infantile ideas. You don’t want to actually consider it. This is intellectual dishonesty, whether or not you’ll admit it (I’m sure you won’t). Expand your mind.

          • GPS Daddy

            Well, Patrick, my claim is a modest one. I claim that there is a designer behind design. Every time we can verify that there is a designer behind design we in fact do find a designer. Life is designed. That is clear.

            For your “scientific” theory to be true the following must be true:

            1. Design does not need a designer.
            2. Life can come from non-life.
            3. Intelligence can come from non-intelligence.
            4. Personhood can come from non-personhood.

            Thats a monumental hill for you to climb, Patrick. But your the science guy. You have science on your side. Since your theory is scientific fact, then you must be able to show evidence for each of these.

            Again, I await your evidence. I think I’ll get the ice cream out with a good loooooong movie…

          • Patrick

            We’re getting nowhere here, which I’m sure is your strategy. You seem content to sit back and act like a child. I advocate for science as the best way of understanding our world, and I love learning about it, but I’ve already told you that I’m not going to present that evidence here. It’s already been done. You already know this, since you yourself stated that it’s scientific fact. You’re admitting here that you know this evidence exists (otherwise it wouldn’t be considered a theory or scientific fact). Based on this simple logic, there’s no point in me presenting it here. You’re already acknowledging that it exists.

            As for your claims, let’s go on a lovely thought journey here. You’ve made it crystal clear that life is designed, so then why is your alleged designer so awful at something that should be simple? This designer is all-powerful, right? Surely you can’t disagree with any of this. Then why couldn’t or wouldn’t he design something much better? We can’t understand his ways? Cop-out. Satan? Pure nonsense. I’d love to hear a good explanation for this. The two I’ve mentioned (which I’ve heard over and over again) are not good, so I’m discarding them already.

            Truthfully, all life is extremely flawed. This is factual, and I can present you with nearly infinite facts and examples to prove this point. You really can’t deny this. If you really think that it was designed, then the designer is awful. There’s really no way around this, but surely this doesn’t fit your worldview, correct? You’re welcome to try to enlighten me, of course, but I’m sure your explanation will be illogical.

            What’s so hard to imagine about non-life leading to life, non-intelligence leading to intelligence, or non-personhood leading to personhood? Is it that you just don’t want to imagine it? Your mind is too simple to fathom it? Even though it’s quite obvious that the scientific method hasn’t explained these phenomena 100% completely yet, you still cling to these very outdated notions. Why? Shouldn’t our learning, understanding, and knowledge of our own natural world be discovered incrementally? You’re shutting this down completely, and it’s to nobody’s benefit – not even your own.

            If you want to proceed with this discussion, please at least answer some of my questions about your motivations. Otherwise, you’re just spinning your wheels and getting us nowhere. Sadly, that encapsulates much of the history of religion. It’s time for society to move on. What a great metaphor, if I might say so myself. Thanks in advance for agreeing!

          • Patrick

            We’re getting nowhere here, which I’m sure is your strategy. You seem content to sit back and act like a child. I advocate for science as the best way of understanding our world, and I love learning about it, but I’ve already told you that I’m not going to present that evidence here. It’s already been done. You already know this, since you yourself stated that it’s scientific fact. You’re admitting here that you know this evidence exists (otherwise it wouldn’t be considered a theory or scientific fact). Based on this simple logic, there’s no point in me presenting it here. You’re already acknowledging that it exists.

            As for your claims, let’s go on a lovely thought journey here. You’ve made it crystal clear that life is designed, so then why is your alleged designer so awful at something that should be simple? This designer is all-powerful, right? Surely you can’t disagree with any of this. Then why couldn’t or wouldn’t he design something much better? We can’t understand his ways? Cop-out. Satan? Pure nonsense. I’d love to hear a good explanation for this. The two I’ve mentioned (which I’ve heard over and over again) are not good, so I’m discarding them already.

            Truthfully, all life is extremely flawed. This is factual, and I can present you with nearly infinite facts and examples to prove this point. You really can’t deny this. If you really think that it was designed, then the designer is awful. There’s really no way around this, but surely this doesn’t fit your worldview, correct? You’re welcome to try to enlighten me, of course, but I’m sure your explanation will be illogical.

            What’s so hard to imagine about non-life leading to life, non-intelligence leading to intelligence, or non-personhood leading to personhood? Is it that you just don’t want to imagine it? Your mind is too simple to fathom it? Even though it’s quite obvious that the scientific method hasn’t explained these phenomena 100% completely yet, you still cling to these very outdated notions. Why? Shouldn’t our learning, understanding, and knowledge of our own natural world be discovered incrementally? You’re shutting this down completely, and it’s to nobody’s benefit – not even your own.

            If you want to proceed with this discussion, please at least answer some of my questions about your motivations. Otherwise, you’re just spinning your wheels and getting us nowhere. Sadly, that encapsulates much of the history of religion. It’s time for society to move on. What a great metaphor, if I might say so myself. Thanks in advance for agreeing!

          • Patrick

            GPS Daddy’s latest comment, also inexplicably removed:

            To your last reply to me that has vanished:

            >>why is your alleged designer so awful at something that should be simple

            Wow,
            so you do acknowledge that life exhibits design. Thats a first step. As
            for the “awful” part I will wait for you to come up with a better
            design that works

            >>We can’t understand his ways

            Hmm, while this is true, when did I ever post that? A new atheist tactic… when you are cornered deflect.

            >>There’s really no way around this, but surely this doesn’t fit your worldview, correct

            It
            will do you well to know the worldview your criticizing. Otherwise you
            look like a fool. By the way, your doing a really good job at the
            second.

            >>What’s so hard to imagine about non-life leading to life,
            non-intelligence leading to intelligence, or non-personhood leading to
            personhood?

            Now
            we divert from science to religion. A lesson on science first: science
            starts with what we observe. What we observe is that life always comes
            from life. Now you c an image all you want. Don’t call it science
            unless you can show evidence for
            it.

            Your a man of science. You have got all the knowledge and evidence at your fingertips. You claim science explains everything.

            Ok,
            then explain life coming from non-life scientifically. Lets just do
            that and we will address the other three after you address this one. But
            lets do science not story
            telling.

            This means that to show life comes from non-life scientifically you must:

            1. propose a hypothesis. This hypothesis must be falsifiable.
            2. Come up with a repeatable experiment that show life coming from non-life validating your hypothesis.

            If
            you cannot do this then the claim that life comes from non-life is a
            religious claim. I’d suggest you study up on what religion really is how
            assumptions work in life and do some very serious self examinati on on
            what you assume to be true, Patrick.

            You have your work cut out for you.

            Now,
            why can’t life come from non-life? Because the odds are off the charts
            that it can happen without an intelligent designer making it happen. You
            can ignore the odds. You can come up with all assortments of
            unverifiable stories on how it might happen. But the fact is that there
            is not enough time by several orders of magnitude for life to evolve
            without a purposeful and intelligent agent making it happen.

            >>Even though it’s quite obvious that the scientific method hasn’t explained these phenomena 100% completely yet

            The scientific method is 0% there. There is nothing but speculation on how life can come from non-life.

            >>You’re welcome to try to enlighten me

            Who can enlighten someone as enlighten as you, Patrick? Thats why 1/2 your post to me is ad-hominem attacks.

            >>If you want to proceed with this discussion, please at least answer some of my questions about your motivations

            Once
            you answer my challenge of showing life can come from non-life then we
            can divert to other discussions. Until then your diversion tactics will
            be ignored.

          • Patrick

            Stop being dishonest and obtuse. You know that I didn’t acknowledge that life exhibits design. I said we were going on a thought journey. You know that this was meant to be hypothetical. Talk about deflection. Speaking of this, I was only trying to anticipate your cop-out argument because I’ve heard it countless times by people exactly like you in a futile attempt to just end the argument. Since you agree with it, it should be clear that it’s not a cornered deflection. Not only that, but you didn’t even address my claim about your worldview! Now this is a true deflection if I’ve ever seen one. If you’re saying I’m looking foolish, then you have to explain that your worldview isn’t in fact what I suggested (which you already said it is, so good luck). In fact, through all of this, I feel like you’re definitely in the corner here.

            I don’t need your lessons on science and religion. I know full well what both of them are. You clearly don’t. Because an idea doesn’t immediately follow the scientific method doesn’t immediately make it religious in nature. Not by any stretch. Here you go over-simplifying again, stretching definitions to fit your position.

            “Your [sic] a man of science. You have got all the knowledge and evidence at your fingertips. You claim science explains everything.”

            Here you go lying again. Outright. I didn’t claim any of this. I said that science provides better explanations for understanding our world than any other method. That’s it. I’ve actually acknowledged that the beauty of science is that it’s incremental – we keep learning as we follow the process. Again, I know full well what religion is. You don’t. Thinking of an idea that seems logical is certainly not religious. Should I pull out the definition of religion for you to study, so that you can check yourself on your intellectual dishonesty here? This scenario truthfully doesn’t fit ANY of the definitions of religion that I’ve verified. Nice try.

            “Because the odds are off the charts that it can happen without an intelligent designer making it happen. You can ignore the odds. You can come up with all assortments of unverifiable stories on how it might happen. But the fact is that there is not enough time by several orders of magnitude for life to evolve without a purposeful and intelligent agent making it happen.”

            You’re wrong. You can’t refer to these “odds” with literally no proof. I can easily say that the odds are strongly against this claim. It’s all wishful thinking. I’ll ignore your made-up odds because they’re not rooted in reality. Well, they’re rooted in the “reality” of someone who still thinks like a child, at least. You’re really showing your scientific ignorance with your last sentence there, too.

            I’m not claiming to be “enlightened” but to have embraced the more reasonable method of investigating our world than you. I’m also clearly remaining more open-minded than you. My “attacks” that you perceive as “ad-hominem” are based on your stubbornness evidenced here through your attempted arguments, and hence they’re not unfounded. I’m not diverting, digressing, distracting, deflecting, etc. You’re stonewalling. I’m trying to get past this stubborn wall of yours to figure out why you can’t or won’t change your mind about this.

          • Patrick

            The only reason that my comments keep disappearing is because they keep getting inexplicably “Detected as spam” – which seems rigged. I’ve marked them as “Not spam” via disqus, and their message shows “Thanks, we’ll work on getting this corrected” – but I doubt this. I’m trying to re-comment.

        • GLT

          “I’d suggest that you read any number of books written by atheists, secularists, and humanists – with an open mind.”

          I have, I used to be there. I am not aware of any atheist argument which is not easily refutable. If you think you have one, by all means, present it.

          “I’m not going to do this work for you here.”

          You don’t need to, I have already done it long ago. Besides, it is extremely doubtful you would present anything I have not already heard hundreds of times. There are no new arguments for atheists to present, it is all simply rhetoric at this stage.

          Actually, atheism is a self refuting position in that to say there is no God requires you to possess all knowledge as it is possible God actually exists outside the parameters of your knowledge. However, if you do, in fact, possess all knowledge that would make you omniscient and as such God. Do you see your dilemma?

          The fact is you can say no more than you do not know whether God exists due to the fact you are not omniscient. Which naturally raises the question, if you do not know whether God exists or not, why am I wrong when I say I believe God does exist?

          • Patrick

            Quite simply, you’re demonstrating that you’ve closed off your mind. You clearly have not done the work of pursuing the countless sound arguments against religion, or else we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

            Since you’re obviously ignorant, allow me to explain that atheism in itself does not say definitively that there are no gods. It’s the lack or absence of belief in gods. Now of course some atheists are quite confident that this is true, but that’s not part of the definition of atheism.

            Your attempted argument about omniscience is laughable. It’s so over-simplified. It’s also moot because of the clarification I made.

            Your last point is perhaps the easiest to refute. You’re wrong because you have exactly zero evidence for your alleged god. Well, this doesn’t make you wrong in theory, but anyone who’s intellectually honest should not believe any claim until it’s proven. YOU are making the positive claim that your god exists, so this burden of proof is on you. Until you prove your claim (remembering that extraordinary claims warrant extraordinary evidence – not to mention repeatable, verifiable, reliable, etc) I will take the natural position of choosing not to believe in your nonsense.

            This is easy. Not really worth any more time.

          • GLT

            “You clearly have not done the work of pursuing the countless sound arguments against religion,…”

            I’m sorry, but you suffer from a lack of reading comprehension. You suggested I read the vast array of books detailing countless sound arguments in support of atheism and against religion. My response to you was ‘I have, I used to be there.’ I further stated when you said you were not going to do the work for me, that it would not be necessary for you to do so because, “I have already done it long ago.’ What parts of those two statements do you not understand? I have very likely read everything, and more, you have read in one form or another. Atheist arguments are all the same so I may have not read A but I found the same argument presented by B.

            In short, you cannot present an argument I have not already heard a hundred or more times and have rejected. You insist there are ‘countless sound arguments.’ If that is true you must be able to present at least one. So far you’ve presented exactly nothing. Why is that, Patrick, not one argument from ‘countless’ sound arguments?

            “Since you’re obviously ignorant, allow me to explain that atheism in itself does not say definitively that there are no gods.”

            I am ignorant, really? How can one say they, as you state, that atheism is simply a lack or absence of belief in gods while at the same time admitting they may exist? That is in fact what you are doing with this type of argument. Remember, just because you acknowledge the existence of a god does not mean you have to worship him. That is the nature of free will, you can acknowledge God’s existence and still deny him worship. Using this type of reasoning is bordering on cognitive dissonance.

            “Your attempted argument about omniscience is laughable. It’s so over-simplified.”

            Really, then you should have no problem refuting it, should you? I notice you haven’t.

            “It’s also moot because of the clarification I made.”

            You will need to rethink this statement due to the fact I just blew away your so-called clarification.

            “You’re wrong because you have exactly zero evidence for your alleged god.”

            This is just a variation of your previous argument and can be refuted with the same line of logic. How do you know there is no evidence? For you to make the statement ‘there is no evidence for God’ you must be knowledgeable of all evidence. In other words, again, you must be omniscient. Evidence for God may exist in some form you are unaware of but that is not the same as it not existing. Also, evidence may exist in a form which you choose not to interpret as evidence for the existence for God. Again, this does not mean the evidence does not exist, only that you reject it.

            “but anyone who’s intellectually honest should not believe any claim until it’s proven.”

            Do you believe everything that you believe can be proven?

            “YOU are making the positive claim that your god exists, so this burden of proof is on you.”

            Atheist Debater’s Handbook, page one, paragraph one.

            Palpable nonsense, atheists make a positive claim to knowledge just as theists do. Anyone making a positive claim to knowledge is required to support their claims with evidence and that includes you and every other atheist. Sorry, that is just the way the system works. The only reason you or anyone else uses this argument is due to the fact they know they cannot defend their position so they attempt to shift the burden. Sorry, that does not work on anyone who understands the basics of logical thought.

            “not to mention repeatable, verifiable, reliable, etc) I will take the natural position of choosing not to believe in your nonsense.”

            Is it your position that only those factors which can be subjected to repeatable, reliable and verifiable testing actually exist?

          • Patrick

            It’s not that I didn’t comprehend what you wrote. I was really trying to suggest that if you read these arguments for atheism with an open mind, there’s no way you shouldn’t eventually agree with them. They’re much stronger than any religious arguments, which I should state once again are not rooted in evidence or reality. Atheist arguments are not all the same. Your simple rejection of any argument does not invalidate it. Are you the paragon of logic and reason? Obviously not.

            One argument to support atheism? There’s the natural and scientific understanding of our world and its history, proof of evolution by natural selection, the simple fact that all religions contradict each other so none can be right, Occam’s Razor, the complete lack of reliable evidence for any religious claim, so on and so forth. I’m sure these will all seem basic to you since you’ve rejected them so many times, but clearly you’ve made up your mind.

            My key word in my reference to the definition of atheism was “definitively.” Also consider the overlapping areas of (a)gnosticism and (a)theism. They’re on separate axes. I do not acknowledge the existence of any alleged god, because there’s no proof. You of all people should never lecture someone on cognitive dissonance.

            Regarding omniscience, I more reasonably consider myself an agnostic atheist. I’m not gnostic like some atheists. Your argument is laughable because “atheism is a self refuting position in that to say there is no God [etc]” is incorrect to begin with. I don’t need to claim to possess all knowledge to reject the unproven ideas of any supernatural deities (the simple fact that billions of people disagree with each other about which and how many gods even exist is another argument for atheism). I don’t see this as a dilemma at all. I’m not claiming omniscience, nor do I need to in order to reject your attempted argument.

            You didn’t blow anything I said away. My point stands.

            With everything else, you’re being pedantic and obtuse – obfuscating, distracting, evading. I said that YOU have exactly zero evidence for your alleged god. I didn’t say that there isn’t any, but that nobody in the history of humanity has presented even one shred of reliable evidence for it. Again, no need to be knowledgeable of all evidence. You’re intentionally distracting. Stop. I see through this, and I’m sure others do too.

            YOU HAVE TO PRESENT EVIDENCE. PERIOD. END OF STORY. It’s really not nonsense. You’re twisting things around and we see through it. The overall point here is that we shouldn’t believe in anything until we’ve been provided with proof of it. Positing any supernatural being is a positive claim, and should need proof for belief. You can’t just throw this away because you don’t like it. You’re intentionally evading responsibility here by turning things back around. You have nothing here. No ground to stand on.

            “Sorry, that is just the way the system works.” No – it doesn’t. Nor should it. This is so laughable that you’re just trying to shift the burden back! You actually have no substance at all. Clearly.

            Regarding your final question – yes. I’m moving on.

          • Patrick

            It’s not that I didn’t comprehend what you wrote. I was really trying to suggest that if you read these arguments for atheism with an open mind, there’s no way you shouldn’t eventually agree with them. They’re much stronger than any religious arguments, which I should state once again are not rooted in evidence or reality. Atheist arguments are not all the same. Your simple rejection of any argument does not invalidate it. Are you the paragon of logic and reason? Obviously not.

            One argument to support atheism? There’s the natural and scientific understanding of our world and its history, proof of evolution by natural selection, the simple fact that all religions contradict each other so none can be right, Occam’s Razor, the complete lack of reliable evidence for any religious claim, so on and so forth. I’m sure these will all seem basic to you since you’ve rejected them so many times, but clearly you’ve made up your mind.

            My key word in my reference to the definition of atheism was “definitively.” Also consider the overlapping areas of (a)gnosticism and (a)theism. They’re on separate axes. I do not acknowledge the existence of any alleged god, because there’s no proof. You of all people should never lecture someone on cognitive dissonance.

            Regarding omniscience, I more reasonably consider myself an agnostic atheist. I’m not gnostic like some atheists. Your argument is laughable because “atheism is a self refuting position in that to say there is no God [etc]” is incorrect to begin with. I don’t need to claim to possess all knowledge to reject the unproven ideas of any supernatural deities (the simple fact that billions of people disagree with each other about which and how many gods even exist is another argument for atheism). I don’t see this as a dilemma at all. I’m not claiming omniscience, nor do I need to in order to reject your attempted argument.

            You didn’t blow anything I said away. My point stands.

            With everything else, you’re being pedantic and obtuse – obfuscating, distracting, evading. I said that YOU have exactly zero evidence for your alleged god. I didn’t say that there isn’t any, but that nobody in the history of humanity has presented even one shred of reliable evidence for it. Again, no need to be knowledgeable of all evidence. You’re intentionally distracting. Stop. I see through this, and I’m sure others do too.

            YOU HAVE TO PRESENT EVIDENCE. PERIOD. END OF STORY. It’s really not nonsense. You’re twisting things around and we see through it. The overall point here is that we shouldn’t believe in anything until we’ve been provided with proof of it. Positing any supernatural being is a positive claim, and should need proof for belief. You can’t just throw this away because you don’t like it. You’re intentionally evading responsibility here by turning things back around. You have nothing here. No ground to stand on.

            “Sorry, that is just the way the system works.” No – it doesn’t. Nor should it. This is so laughable that you’re just trying to shift the burden back! You actually have no substance at all. Clearly.

            Regarding your final question – yes. I’m moving on.

        • Actually, Patrick, I got that from humanists’ reactions to that hymn. Actual humanists, just as you requested.

        • And I can’t speak for GLT, but I make a point of reading atheists. I read just about everything posted b the American Humanist Association, not to mention the books I mentioned above, not to mention many others.

          I’ve done my homework. I’ve learned what to appreciate in them. An open mind is no route to accepting logical contradictions, fallacies, straw men, and so on, though. So I don’t accept those, and I don’t consider that bias or any other moral weakness on my part.

          • Patrick

            You don’t accept logical contradictions, fallacies, straw men, etc? I find this incredibly hard to believe, given your views. Maybe I’m misunderstanding you here.

    • I understand that brains and thought processes are well understood in one level. I’m not as ignorant as you suppose. I also understand that on the level of which i was writing, this understanding is lacking. Have you read Rosenberg? Better yet, Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos; he’s the better and more widely respected philosopher.

      • Patrick

        Thanks for admitting this. My comments on your ignorance were more directed at the blatant mis-characterization of atheists and humanists, which you haven’t really addressed. I admit that I haven’t read Rosenberg or Nagel, but perhaps I will.

        • I wasn’t really trying to characterize atheists or humanists, but rather atheism and humanism, which (in current forms) depends on atheism. Let me re-state the obvious, which I also said in the article: Atheists and humanists are fully human, and will live as such regardless of what their philosophy might entail. But their philosophy, when carried to its logical conclusion, really is inhuman.

          So there is this inherent contradiction: Humans claiming to live by a philosophy that (in its logical outworkings) denies most of what it means to be human. The humanness always wins. Or almost. Camus certainly wondered about suicide as the chief philosophical question. Others have chosen suicide. But the usual answer is to live as humans. Even though the philosophy entails conclusions that deny humanness.

          • Patrick

            You may not have intended to mis-characterize us, but I think you have through the way you’ve presented your case. Of course we’re human, but I disagree with your conclusion that our philosophy is inhuman. I don’t think this is logical at all. I think you’ve cherry-picked very tiny parts of our philosophy that on the fringes might seem to lead to your sense of it being inhuman, but in reality largely doesn’t. I disagree with essentially your whole premise here. Even if these tiny things by only two atheists/humanists seem to deny humanness, I think that the bulk of humanism does FAR better for humanity than any religious system does.

          • It’s hard to see how I could have mischaracterized you when, as I explained previously, I wasn’t even characterized you at all.

            What I have focused on here are entailments of materialistic naturalism. This is at the core of most Western atheists’ philosophy, not at the fringe. And these conclusions are quite clearly entailed, in my considered view. They aren’t optional; they aren’t just two philosophers’ views; they are logical consequences of materialistic naturalism.

            You’ve complained that I presented a conclusion. You haven’t engaged with my briefly stated reasons for it, or the extended reasoning I referred to in Rosenberg’s book. When you do, then you might have a right to complain. If you aren’t actually persuaded to change your mind, that is, which the force of the argument really ought to do for you.

            I recognize and I think I made quite a strong statement on the contradiction between the values and conclusions that follow logically from atheistic humanism’s starting propositions, and the values that actual humanists actually adopt and follow. I trust you will not need to keep trying to persuade me that humanists believe these conclusions. I know they don’t. I’m only saying there’s a contradiction there: that logically following their premises they should believe them, but that their humanness will always intervene and prevent them from living consistently with the logical conclusions of their premises.

            My point here was not to compare atheism’s and religions’ effects on humanity, so I won’t chase that one.

          • Patrick

            It’s hard not to read this synopsis as nit-picking one fairly irrelevant point about humanism and atheism, then. I’m guessing you don’t really have any other more powerful criticism of these philosophies that’s worth writing about. That’s telling.

  • Trilemma

    Many Christians don’t believe humans have free will either. If God is omniscient, then from God’s perspective we don’t have free will and it’s just an illusion for us.

    If I don’t have free will then I don’t actually exist. I would be just an illusion. So, I start with René Descartes’ axiom, “I think, therefore I am.” Trying to determine if I actually exist or have free will doesn’t seem to have a practical purpose that I can see. There is a difference between free will and free choice. A person in a jail cell has a much free will as anyone else but has much less free choice.

    Concerning aboutness. If I have my computer think about word processing, are the all the transistors and electrical impulses and all the processes that generate power and movement in the computer about word processing? No, because the word processor software is not actually those things. The software is not part of the computer even though it needs the computer to run. The software is information and processes information. When I think about Paris my body and its processes are not about Paris but the information in my brain is about Paris.

    • Sorry, but your computer’s software isn’t about word processing in the relevant sense, which is, it isn’t about words, language, thoughts or ideas. It’s about manipulating logic gates. But even that ablutness is in our minds, not in the software itself.

      • Trilemma

        I botched my computer analogy. When Rosenberg says everything in my brain is either a physical object or process, he discards the fact that my brain can store and process information. A rock can’t store information and a snow storm can’t process information. When I think about Paris, I’m processing information about Paris even though by brain and its processes are not about Paris. I think Rosenberg has taken his reductionism too far.

        Why must Rosenberg’s conclusion be right if atheism were true rather than the conclusion of an anti-reductionist philosopher?

        • Rosenberg doesn’t deny the brain can do what a computer does. Not in the least.

          You say, “When I think about Paris…” you’re distinguishing yourself from your brain. Good. I agree with that; it is indeed the human approach to thinking. Now, how can you distinguish yourself, and your own thinking, from your brain?

          • Trilemma

            I think it’s difficult to distinguish myself and my own thinking from my brain. But here are some ideas on how that might be done. When I learn to dance, ride a bicycle, or play a musical instrument, at first it takes a great deal of my conscious thinking to do what’s physically required. But the more I practice, the less of myself or my thinking is needed. I think this is due to my brain taking over doing the work for me. This is sometimes called muscle memory. As another example, I can choose when to breath or not by myself and my own thinking. But when I’m not thing about breathing, my brain takes over. For these reasons I favor a mind body dualism view

            My thinking and my brain are also interactive. I can talk myself into depression and thus physically change my brain chemistry. Changes in my thoughts can physically affect my brain. If I were to drink too much alcohol, it would affect my brain and change my thinking. Changes in my brain can affect my thinking. I also think that consciousness is greater than the sum of the parts and therefore is not subject to reductionism.

          • I agree on that reductionism conclusion! I also think it requires something more than physical reality for it to be possible.

  • If this isn’t too late notice, I’m going live on Facebook at 8 pm Tuesday, April 17 — two hours from now, in other words — discussing this piece and this conversation. Join in if you can! At The Stream’s Facebook page.

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